Start making healthy choices

Healthy changes don’t happen overnight. But you can start making healthier choices for you and your family today. Even small changes will have you on your way towards a healthier tomorrow.

Four key areas where Ontario’s public health units work to support choices for healthy living include:

  1. healthy eating
  2. food safety
  3. hand washing
  4. active living

Making choices to improve your health will:

  • make you feel better
  • reduce stress
  • prevent diseases

Healthy eating

Eating well is one of the most important things you can do to keep you and your family healthy. It can help protect you from heart disease and stroke. It can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer. It can also stop bone loss as you age.

Programs and resources to help people in the province eat healthy include:

  • Health Connect Ontario
  • Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program

Health Connect Ontario

Visit Health Connect Ontario or call 811 and speak to a Registered Dietitian about nutrition and healthy eating.

Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program

This program brings healthy, nutritious food to elementary and intermediate school students in the districts of Algoma, Porcupine and Sudbury. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association coordinates delivery of fruits and vegetables to students at least twice a week from January to June.

Algoma Public Health, Porcupine Health Unit and Sudbury and District Health Unit work with schools in their regions. The program reaches over 190 schools and approximately 37,000 students.

The goal is to teach children and their families the benefits that fruits and vegetables, healthy eating and physical activity have on their overall health and to encourage them to eat more of these healthy foods.

Tips for healthy eating

  • use Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating
  • eat a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits
  • eat whole grain products
  • choose fat-free and low-fat dairy products
  • choose lean meats like skinless chicken or turkey
  • snack smart: choose dried fruit, carrot sticks, whole grain crackers
  • use healthy cooking methods such as baking, broiling or steaming
  • serve healthy portion sizes
  • limit your alcohol intake

Food safety

Food safety in Ontario is shared by all levels of government — federal, provincial and municipal. There are three ministries responsible for food safety in the province:

What causes food poisoning

You and your family can get food poisoning when you eat contaminated food. You can’t smell or see these toxins. But they multiply quickly and can make you sick.

Seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, are more likely to become sick.

Signs and symptoms of food poisoning

You may have food poisoning if you have some or all of these symptoms:

  • upset stomach with nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • fever

Contaminated food can make you sick anywhere from hours to weeks after eating it. Most people get sick within a couple of days.

What to do if you think you have food poisoning

How to make a complaint about food safety

Contact your local health authorities for concerns about:

Hand washing

Washing your hands is important to keeping you and your family healthy. Follow these important tips:

  • wash your hands often and carefully — at least 15 seconds for each part
  • remove jewellery and keep nails short

Active living

People who are physically active live longer and healthier lives. They are less likely to develop heart disease and other chronic health problems. Regular physical activity leads to a better quality of life. And, it helps lower the cost of health care in the province.

Ontario’s public health units offer programs that can help you learn to eat healthier, be more active and prevent chronic diseases.

Learn more about the programs offered by public health units

Find a public health office

Exercise tips

How much you should exercise

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has set out physical activity guidelines that tell you how often you should exercise.

Physical activity guidelines for every age