Meet the Team: Sam & Bianca

Generation Health would not be the fantastic program it is without the hard work of our dedicated team members.

Meet Bianca and Sam! 👋🏽

1. Tell us about your journey with Generation Health.

Bianca: I have been with the program since it began in September 2018. I’ve worked as a graduate student researcher to help evaluate the program, on the delivery team as a physical activity facilitator, and more. In June 2021, I became the project manager.

Sam: I am a professor at the University of Victoria and I have been with Generation Health since 2018. I helped develop and evaluate the Generation Health program. We are constantly trying to improve program delivery based on the feedback we receive from our participants and partners.

2. What are your favourite ways to stay physically active?

Bianca: I enjoy being active outdoors and am fortunate to live in Victoria where nature and the ocean are never far away. Hiking, running, tennis, and yoga are my favorites. I also love walking – with my partner and our dog, or coffee walks with friends.

Sam: I enjoy many forms of physical activity. My favorite way to be physically active is skiing during the winter.

3. Tell us about your favourite go-to meal or snacks!

Bianca: Roasted chicken and vegetables with quinoa. My favorite snacks are Tamari almond and stovetop popcorn.

Sam: Ramen. I love a bowl of ramen during the winter.

4. What are your favourite tips for healthy living?

Bianca: Try carrying a reusable water bottle with you to increase your water intake, challenge yourself to turn off the screens during mealtimes, and aim to fit in physical activity when you can – small changes over time make a difference!

Sam: Try to make physical activity a part of your daily routine. Physical activity can come in many different forms from walking to the bus stop, taking the stairs, or taking a stroll after dinner. It all can add up!

5. Tell us about a memorable interaction with a participating family.

Bianca: As a facilitator, I was able to help families work towards and achieve their lifestyle goals which helped them to feel more confident and motivated to continue. One interaction in particular was with a family who had three generations attend the program – the children, parents, and grandparent all learned and made changes together 🙂

Sam: My most memorable interaction with a participating family was during the initial development and pilot phase. The family offered us helpful program feedback and encouragement for our team to scale-up the program.

6. What has been a highlight for you while working for Generation Health?

Bianca: Seeing the positive impact it continues to have for so many families is incredibly rewarding. I especially love hearing family updates and success stories months after they completed the program. We couldn’t do any of this without our fantastic team members all across BC. I am proud of how we have helped the program grow and evolve since 2018 and am excited to see what the future brings.

Sam: My research program aims to improve the well-being of families through lifestyle changes. Generation health enables me to apply best-practice to help families live a healthy lifestyle. I enjoy learning about how the programs have helped families and working with the fantastic staff and students to make the program delivery and evaluation possible.

7. Lastly, what would you tell families that are thinking of joining the Generation Health program?

Bianca: Generation Health provides a unique opportunity for both children and parents to learn and have fun together, and it’s free! We have a knowledgeable and dedicated team who are extremely passionate about helping families, like yours, make positive lifestyle changes.

Sam: The Generation Health Program is a great opportunity for families to improve their health and well-being by learning about nutrition, physical activity, and healthy habits.

Meet the Team: Rebecca & Amanda

Generation Health would not be the fantastic program it is without the hard work of our incredible team members who support families on their health journey.

Meet Rebecca, our Research Coordinator,  and Amanda, our Generation Health app expert!

1. Tell us about your journey with Generation Health.

Rebecca: I started in September as the Research Coordinator.

Amanda: I started in July working on the implementation of the new Generation Health app. I’m also a PhD student at the University of Victoria.

2. What are your favourite ways to stay physically active?

Rebecca: I have three kids and they’re all climbers, so rock climbing at the beach is always a hit, or exploring new playground climbing walls all over the city. We also enjoy going for walks together around our neighbourhood (especially during blackberry season!).

Amanda: I love being active outdoors! My go-to outdoor activity is biking- either on the road or mountain biking. I have recently signed up to complete my first-ever marathon, which I am excited to accomplish!

3. What is your favorite go-to meal to make?

Rebecca: I’m a fan of quick, simple meals. My favourite supper to make is burritos with homemade wraps and lots of avocado and cilantro. Our tastiest meals are when my dad fires up the BBQ or when I’m lucky enough to have fresh produce from my in-laws’ amazing garden.

Amanda: My go-to meal is anything “dump and bake”. I’ve been making a one dish buffalo cauliflower and chickpea casserole lately that I’ve really been enjoying!

4. What is your favourite thing about working with Generation Health?

Rebecca: The people! I work with an amazing team of incredible people who make it a joy to come to work each day. I also love the opportunity to interact with the families we support. I have been interviewing new families this week, and it’s a privilege to hear their stories and see the impact this program could have for them.

Amanda: My favourite thing about working with Generation Health is seeing the impact that this program has on so many families! This program is incredibly diverse, covering many aspects of a healthy lifestyle, so it has something for everyone. Hearing everyone’s feedback after the program is super inspiring and helpful to continue to make Generation Health an awesome program that families want to attend again and again!

Meet the Team: Rebecca & Cam

Generation Health would not be the fantastic program it is without the hard work of our incredible team members who support families on their health journey.

Meet our Program & Research Assistants, Rebecca & Cam! 👋🏽

Both from the University of Victoria, they help to register families for our programs
and many important behind the scene tasks!

1. Tell us about your journey with Generation Health.

Rebecca: I started in July as a Program Assistant for Generation Health.

Cam: Coming from the Digital Health Lab at the University of Victoria, I have been working as a Research Assistant with Generation Health for just over a month now. In the little time I have been working, I have loved interacting with families that join the program, because I know how much what we do means to them.

2. What are your favourite ways to stay physically active?

Rebecca: I love to get out for a hike or go biking around Victoria. My favourite sport to play in the summer is grass volleyball! 🏐

Cam: My favourite activity as of now is surfing, when I can get out! 🏄🏽‍♂️

3. What are some of your favourite recipes or meal ideas?

Rebecca: My favourite recipes usually come from the oldest cookbooks! I love making one-pot meals or anything with an easy clean-up. 🍲

Cam: My favourite thing to make for myself is a breakfast burrito. 🌯

4. What’s your favourite thing about working with Generation Health?

Rebecca: Generation Health is an amazing program and I love hearing how it has helped families all across B.C. I enjoy being part of the process and helping families create healthy lifestyle habits.

Cam: Chatting with the families. All of them are so appreciative of the program, so it makes my job feel fulfilling.

Reduce Food Waste and Save

A 2019 United Nations report on food waste concluded that 58% of the food produced in Canada is wasted and 61% of that waste happens at home. The average Canadian wastes 79 kilograms or 174 pounds of food a year! 

Not only is wasted food costing you money, it’s also placing a burden on the planet. About 8-10% of methane emissions – a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere – come from food that is not consumed.

Bottomline – Make an effort to buy only what you’ll eat and eat what you buy.

Here are a few tips to reduce food waste and save:

  • Meal plan and shop with a list to ensure you eat what you buy! 
  • Grow your own food. Herbs are easy to grow in the smallest of spaces. Or, try container-friendly veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers or varieties of cucumbers. Many herbs freeze well to be used later in sauces, soups and stews. Share any excess produce from your garden with neighbours, family, and friends.
  • Turn supper leftovers into lunch the next day. Pack food into reusable containers made from glass or stainless steel. Mason jars and beeswax wraps are perfect!
  • Store fresh vegetables and fruits properly to retain their nutritional value and freshness. E.g., never store an apple with a head of lettuce! Check the Resources Section on food storage tips and how to arrange your crisper drawers.
  • Create an “Eat Me First” bin or basket for the fridge. Choose produce approaching the “use before” date. Find recipes that incorporate over-ripe or “tired-looking” veggies and fruits instead of putting them into the compost bin. Turn over-ripe fruit into smoothies or fruit compotes, or use in quick breads and muffins such as banana muffins. Steam or blanch and freeze wilting veggies to use later in soups and stews. No need to waste the tops from fresh carrots, beets, radishes and turnips – add them to the stock pot.
  • Break up with your garburator. Because food waste contains a lot of nitrogen, this leads to environmental problems when food waste ends up in lakes and streams. Garburators also use energy and perfectly good drinking water to get rid of organic waste. Composting— whether in the backyard or in the city green bin– is better because it creates soil!

Want to learn more? Check out these resources! 

Video – Creating a Vegetable Garden

Five Ways to Recycle Less 

Help End Food Waste

Don’t Confuse Best Before with Expiry Dates

Meet the Team: Kaede & Noah

Generation Health would not be the fantastic program it is without the hard work of our incredible team members who support families on their health journey.

Meet our program assistants, Kaede & Noah! 👋🏽

Both are in the final year of their degrees at the University of Victoria. Kaede comes to us from Pemberton, and Noah is from Cranbook, BC. They help to register families for our programs, put together equipment kits, and many important behind the scene tasks!

Why did you decide to pursue a degree in Recreation & Health Education (Kaede) & Kinesiology (Noah)?

Kaede: I’ve always loved sports and activities so I wanted to pursue a degree in something that would allow me to stay in this field. I’ve always been an athlete but I wanted to see what it’s like on the other side of sport, supporting others!

Noah: My father was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition when I was young. I was inspired by how much the kinesiology treatment helped get him back to active living. As a result, I decided that no matter where I end up, I want to dedicate my life to helping people.

What inspired you to work with Generation Health and what has been a highlight for you?

Kaede: The mission of the organization was very interesting to me and unlike any other job I’d had before.

Noah: I grew up as an inactive child who ate unhealthily and spent a lot of his free time playing video games. I had an amazing role model show me that I can still enjoy those games while also leading a healthy lifestyle. I spent more time in the outdoors, in the gym, and as a result, felt incredible. I saw that Generation Health is about health promotion and couldn’t believe how much it resonated with my past, as well as my values for helping others.

The program is an amazing gateway into healthy living and being able to play a part in a family’s journey to that is incredibly rewarding. Being able to work with a like-minded team has opened my eyes and has given me a lot of values I didn’t know were important to me. Without a doubt, working with Generation Health has been a highlight of the last year of my degree!

What are your favourite Spring activities?

Kaede: I love getting out for walks when the sun is out and the weather is nice again! I also like to get out for some road biking or mountain biking. When the weather isn’t as nice out, I’ve been doing lots of yoga and other activities like climbing and volleyball!

Noah: I absolutely love hiking (and geocaching), skateboarding, and rock climbing! I really like the mind-body connection I get from climbing. It’s like an active puzzle where the wall has all the pieces! I have really enjoyed picking up skateboarding with my friends too!

What are some of your favourite recipes or meal ideas?

Kaede: I’ve been making a lot more Japanese dishes lately. My mom made us so many delicious Japanese meals, and it definitely inspired me. My favourites to make are simple noodle dishes like udon or soba, and Japanese curry.

Noah: Ever since Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”, I was hooked on cooking. My favorite new recipe that I made recently would have to be baked spicy-chipotle broccoli bites (vegetarian replacement for chicken wings). My all-time favorite meal I cook though is a ginger veggie stir fry!

Use Your Own Fuel to Get Around

In our mechanized society you really don’t have to move much to get through the day. Perhaps the price of fuel and the impact of greenhouse gases on the environment are starting to motivate you to think a little differently about how you structure your day.

These 5 tips will help your family contribute positively to protecting the environment and your health while saving a few toonies at the same time. Have a chat over dinner tonight and decide as a family which of the 5 tips you want to try this week. At the end of the week, check in on your progress with the tip you tried and decide together which one you’ll add for the next week. If the tip you tried didn’t work out so well, talk about why not and how to be more successful at that tip or another one the next week.

Tip 1 – Use the car less. Even if you have an electric car or a hybrid, think twice before you jump in to drive the kids to school or pick up that one item you need for dinner. Go to bed earlier, get up earlier and walk the kids to school or cycle with them to school if that is possible. Do you drive to work? Could you cycle once a week instead and work up to 2-3 times a week? It’s better for your health and the environment. Saves on fuel and parking costs too.

Tip 2 – Park and walk. When you need to take the car, do you drive around looking for the closest spot to park? Park further away, it’s often less crowded and sometimes you can get limited free parking on the street rather than paying for parking close to businesses. Take in your surroundings, learn a new street name, count your steps. If the kids are with you, do it together. Keep phones in your pocket and no headphones. It is important to pay close attention to the traffic and the lights. There’s always one car that speeds through a yellow light or turns right at a red light even when it is not allowed.

Tip 3 – Dust off the bicycles and ride. Cycling is a wonderful family activity especially on weekends when there is a little more free time. It’s good for the body and the soul. Being outdoors together in nature and developing safety skills are both important for child growth and development too. Some communities offer cycling programs to help children enjoy safe cycling. Don’t have a bicycle and helmet? There are usually used bicycles available. Some communities offer free rental programs too which is great when the kids are young and outgrow their bicycle every season. If your child has outgrown theirs then sell it and buy a size up or trade with your neighbours. Helmets are not something you should get second hand though for safety reasons. Wear bright colours when cycling and stick to designated bicycle paths whenever possible.

Tip 4 – Walk together most days. If walking to school is not practical for your family, then plan a family walk after school. In the spring and summer months especially, a walk after dinner to the park or around your neighbourhood can be a special time to check in on how everyone is doing and enjoy each other’s company. And it adds to your physical fitness and helps with sleep too. Here’s an idea to turn it into a fun family activity – a different family member volunteers to plan the walking route and perhaps even a conversation topic. Try it. It helps develop planning and leadership skills too.

Tip 5 – Take the stairs. Whether you’re at the mall, work, or visiting a friend at their apartment, take the stairs. It rarely takes any longer than waiting for the elevator to arrive and riding up unless you’re going to the 20th floor. If that’s the case and building security allows, get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way. Count your steps!

Are you a ‘tiger’ or a ‘jellyfish’ when it comes to parenting?

Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to help determine your style of parenting: 

  1. I make decisions for the kids and I don’t feel the need to explain my reasons.
  2. I’d rather back down from an argument than get into a fight with my kids.
  3. I need to demonstrate respect for my kids in order to expect to be respected by them in return.
  4. I shouldn’t have to deal with my kid’s mistakes. 
  5. There are times when I need to stand firm on a decision but it’s important to explain the reasoning behind the decision.
  6. I don’t care what my child believes.
  7. I believe parents should set the rules and kids should follow them.
  8. I don’t pay attention to what my kid likes.

Yes to #1 and #7 –  This style is referred to as “Authoritarian or tiger” parenting. It’s the “I know best” approach. No questions asked. 

Yes to #2 and #8- This style is referred to as “permissive, indulgent or jellyfish”. The parents place few demands on their children. They avoid confrontation and provide few guidelines regarding behaviour because they don’t want to upset their children.  They tend to strive to be seen as a friend to their child and have difficulty when it comes to setting and enforcing rules.

Yes to #3 and #5 – This style is generally referred to as “authoritative or backbone” parenting. It is a blend of caring with structure and consistent limit setting.  Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions.  These parents expect a great deal of their children but they provide warmth, feedback and adequate support.  When children fail to meet expectations, these parents are nurturing and forgiving rather than punitive, although they do impose consequences for not adhering to family rules.  

Yes to #4 and #6 – This style is referred to as “Uninvolved parenting”. This style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and very little communication.  While this style ensures kids’ basic needs are met, it offers little guidance, structure, rules or support.

Different parenting styles have different impacts on child developmental outcomes and their health habits. Research suggests that:

  • Authoritarian or ‘tiger’ parenting style generally promotes obedience and proficiency in children.  Ironically, children that are raised with this approach often lack respect for authority.  They rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem. Because of a lower self-esteem, they may be more likely to follow the crowd in making less healthy, possibly risky choices or may bully others. 
  • Authoritative parenting style sets a positive foundation based on clear rules and expectations and non-physical discipline. It’s the combination of expectations and support that helps children develop independence and self-control, a strong self-esteem and self-confidence.  It is this parenting style that is considered to create the strongest bonds between parents and kids and leads to the development of thinking and social skills important for young people to be successful in the adult world. Kids raised with an authoritative parenting style are more likely to make good decisions that lead to positive health behaviours.
  • Permissive  or ‘jellyfish’ parenting places few rules or demands on kids and parents seldom follow through on consequences when children do not follow the rules.  This parenting approach often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation.  These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school. They are at higher risk for health problems such as obesity perhaps because of parents’ struggle to limit unhealthy food choices.  
  • Children from families where parents are uninvolved tend to lack self-control, have lower self-esteem and are less competent in decision-making than their peers.  Consequently, they are easily led to risky health behaviours such as using drugs and/or alcohol.

You may be a mixture or use different approaches depending on the situation – that’s more likely the case. And two-parent families may have different styles all together. Try to decide together what parenting style works best for your family.  Make a plan that you are both happy about.  Be flexible and seek professional support if there are strong differences in your approaches to parenting or you feel confused about what to do. Here are some additional resources you may find helpful.


What’s Your Parenting Style? – video

Nobody’s Perfect – Facilitated Parenting Program

Nobody’s Perfect Parenting Tip Sheets

30 Ways to stay Connected with your Teen

Parent’s Guide to Separation and Divorce

Why the best parenting style isn’t one style at all, but many

Power Down Screens at Bedtime

You don’t find many bedrooms these days without at least one screen – some kids even have televisions in their bedrooms. Now if your kids study in their bedrooms then a laptop or desktop computer is likely not easy to move out at night but encourage your kids to power them down. 

Screens and sleep really don’t mix well. The bright lights from screens can throw off the body’s clock by confusing the brain into thinking it is still daytime. And it can be so tempting to just do one last check for messages or social media posts before you turn the lights off and one hour later, you’re still on your phone!

Some parents report that having a table outside the bedrooms to rest all devices before bedtime works. Some youth will fight this practice as many teens, especially, use their phone alarms to wake them in the morning. How about an old fashioned alarm clock without a bright screen?

One parent shared a story that was so telling…The Dad enforced the family screen protocol and he was away for 2 weeks. The Mom didn’t follow through as it was not usually her role. She noticed her son seemed more tired and moody but then the school called as her son’s behaviour was not usual. He was falling asleep in class and his focus was noticeably off. The teachers felt something must be different at home. Guess what it was? He was on social media and texting his friends way past bedtime and not getting the 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep he needed. Within one week his behaviour was noticeably different. Scary! Can you imagine what would have happened if he continued on this path for months? 

You may feel like you are a mean parent by setting screen time boundaries  but it is your job and it is best for everyone.

5 Suggestions to Keep Food Costs Under Control

It’s been a challenging couple of years with COVID-19, floods, and now a war impacting food prices. If you are struggling with ways to contain rising food costs, you are not alone – many families are worried about providing a variety of healthy foods for their families. It is getting more and more challenging and you’re likely already doing lots to curtail your food costs – making a shopping list, using coupons, taking advantage of sales, etc. These are our top five suggestions:

1. Plan and shop once a week. This is tough to do, but it works! Every time you shop you pick up something you likely don’t need. Make a plan and stick to it as much as possible. Forget something? Make do without it or substitute with another ingredient.

2. Cook once – eat twice (or three times!). Do you ever feel discouraged after making a delicious meal and in 10 minutes it is all gone? Double up the recipe and serve the same meal twice in one week or use the leftovers for lunches the next day. You can change out the veggie and it can feel like a different meal. For example, make a double or triple batch of pasta sauce and freeze some for another meal or have pasta two nights that week. Another idea is to roast two chickens instead of one and use one for sandwiches for lunch that week. Keep the bones and make a flavourful stock. Add lots of pot barley and vegetables and you have another lunch or dinner meal.

3. Eat more plant-based meals. Meat can be expensive, but just about everything you can think of can be done meatless – chile con carne with a variety of beans and vegetables, tacos with beans, meatless pasta sauce,  stir-fry with tofu, veggie burgers (make your own).  Eating less meat is good for your health, the planet and your budget!

4. Eat local and in season. It’s tempting to pick up those beautiful raspberries and tomatoes off season. Try to stick with root vegetables during the winter months – carrots, turnip, beets, parsnips. Roast up two large baking pans of root vegetables and make them last for two meals. Add grated carrot, beets, zucchini and apple to your salads instead of tomatoes and avocado. You don’t need to buy an expensive vegetable slicer either – a handheld julienne vegetable peeler works great. Divide up the vegetable preparation amongst family members to make meal prep faster and easier.

5. Eat out and order-in infrequently. This is the hardest to stick to. After a long week at work, ordering in pizza for the family is so tempting. How about a compromise? Buy ready-made pizza dough or crusts and a variety of healthy ingredients and gather the family around to create your own pizzas. It makes for a fun Friday night! Here’s an idea: When you make the grocery list this week, ask each family member to add a healthy pizza topping to the list. It’s best to avoid deli meats – they are expensive and loaded with salt and nitrites/nitrates. Use leftover roast chicken, ground turkey, or lean ground beef and consider making at least one pizza without meat.  In the summertime and if you have a BBQ,  try cooking the pizzas on the BBQ to help keep the house cool.  

Demystifying Healthy Eating

March is Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is “good for you” and emphasizes that healthy eating looks different for everyone. 

What does healthy eating mean to you? You might think that healthy eating means having to eat certain foods or having to restrict foods you enjoy. Rather, it is about finding a pattern of eating that works for you and your family. Healthy eating looks different for each family and can depend on grocery budgets, busy schedules, cooking skills, food preferences, culture and food traditions, health conditions, and many other factors. 

Here are 3 tips to demystify healthy eating:

  • It can be affordable. There are many ways you can save money and shop on a budget at the grocery store while still eating nutritious and filling foods. 
  • It can be simple. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen making a meal. Meal planning and prepping can help save you time getting meals on the table. 
  • It starts in the kitchen. Knowing how to cook and navigate your kitchen is a great way to develop healthy eating habits and be able to customize your food to your liking. If you would like to brush up on your skills, you might consider taking a cooking class or watching a tutorial video. 

Culture and Food Traditions 

Food and culture often go hand in hand. Traditions may impact what foods are enjoyed, how they’re prepared, and where or when it’s eaten. Expressing culture through food choices is also a great way to enjoy a variety of foods and pass on meaningful traditions to kids. If you’re unsure how to involve kids in the kitchen, learn about cooking skills by age level.

Foods that are enjoyed often can be adapted to make them healthier while maintaining the traditions behind them. Some ideas to boost the nutrition-profile of traditional dishes are: 

  • Substituting animal fats with vegetable oils, such as olive oil 
  • Adding more fruits or veggies 
  • Swapping refined grains with whole grains
  • Replacing excess salt with natural flavours from herbs or spices 

It may seem new, but making food more healthy is often easier than we think! Some examples of saving traditional aspects while giving them a nutrition boost include: 

  • Incorporating the tips above to add a twist to special occasions such as Thanksgiving
  • If baked goods rich in added sugar and refined flour are a staple at family gatherings, consider a reduced sugar or whole grain substitute such as whole grain banana bread
  • Trying a chocolate avocado mousse if your family is used to a rich and creamy dessert during special holidays 

It is important to know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. If you require additional help or if you are concerned about a family member with an allergy or health condition, it is best to work with a dietitian to discuss you and your family’s unique nutrition needs. To access a dietitian call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm for free from anywhere in the province. You can also visit for reliable and accurate nutrition information. For more Nutrition Month tips and ideas check out