Healthy eating habits for newcomers

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The Healthy Immigrant Effect

  1. Moving to a new country is stressful.
  2. Newcomers can fail to take care of their health during the process.
  3. You may not think about proper nutrition.
  4. Many will experience the “healthy immigrant effect”.
    • Immigrants are generally healthier than Canadian-born.
    • But immigrants’ health decline as their years in Canada increase.
  5. You may not know the types of foods available.
  6. You may not see the types of food are familiar with in supermarkets.

Shop right and experiment

  1. The supermarket is full of healthy foods.
  2. Explore. Find out where each type of food can be found in the store.
  3. Look at the bakery, dairy, meat and fresh produce sections.
  4. Learn about organic foods.
    • These are grown or produced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or growth hormones.
    • These must pass strict rules to be called organic.
    • They can be more expensive than non-organic foods.
  5. Read Is organic food healthier? to know the pros and cons.
  6. Some fruits and vegetables may be new to you.
    • Try them by looking for recipes online.
    • Ask your friends how they would cook it.
  7. The Immigrant Centre and Mary Jane’s Cooking School offer classes on cooking and nutrition.
  8. See the Leisure Guide for cooking classes offered by the City of Winnipeg.
  9. Attending cooking classes will help you:
    • learn about new types of foods
    • practice your English language skills
    • make friends

Ethnic restaurants and stores

  1. Manitoba has many ethnic restaurants and ethnic food stores.
  2. They have foods from different regions or cultures.
  3. Don’t buy pre-packaged products.
  4. Buy a good mix of healthy foods from supermarkets and from ethnic stores.
  5. Have fun experimenting with different dishes.

Budgeting matters

  1. Price is an important consideration when shopping for groceries.
  2. Look for ways to save:
  3. Visit a food bank if you need help. Bring your Manitoba health card.

Nutrition for kids and shift workers

  1. It can be challenging to convince children to try new foods.
  2. Ask your children to help out with food preparation.
    • They will learn about healthy eating.
    • Teach them recipes from your culture.
  3. Talk to your children about new foods they’ve tried at school.
  4. Try new foods together as a family.
  5. Present food in a fun way.
  6. Have a positive attitude to healthy eating.
  7. Shift work can be bad for your health.
    • It disrupts your internal clock.
    • You can adopt unhealthy eating habits.
  8. Read:
  9. Prepare nutritious foods and snacks to take with you.

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Community Resources

Home & Family has many resources for newcomers. Know what fruits and vegetable are in season in the prairies, where to find community gardens, nutrition programs, and other resources.

Know about breakfast, snack and lunch programs for school aged children. Go to: Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba. Click on the resources section for handbooks and guidelines.

Speak to someone about your diet. Contact a community nutritionist.

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