January 2019 – Role-Modeling Healthy Habits

January 2019 – Role-Modeling Healthy Habits

Parents and caregivers… are you sending your children mixed messages about healthy living?

  • Do you talk about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast before school, then rush out the door with only a coffee in hand?
  • Do you talk about your weight and skip meals because you are on a diet?
  • Do you encourage your children to choose water when thirsty but drink pop when you want a beverage?

Though you may not realize it, children watch the adults in their lives very closely. Being a positive role model and modeling healthy behaviours for your children will help them to develop healthy habits for life. Here are a few things you can do to lead by example:

  • Follow Canada’s food guide and eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal and snack, while limiting highly processed foods (like cookies, chips, processed meats and fruit drinks).
  • Avoid saying you don’t like a food. Children are constantly exploring the flavours of new foods. Talking positively about foods allows them to develop their own food preferences.
  • Embrace that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Practice healthy behaviors (like eating well) to help you feel good, not for weight control.
  • Accomplish a goal lately? Reward yourself with non-food items, like spending time with a friend, attending an art class or reading a new book.
  • Participate in physical activity for the lifelong health benefits, the pleasure of moving your body, or because you enjoy the sport, rather than to justify a food treat afterwards.
  • Focus on fun! Plan celebrations around activities you enjoy, instead of the foods you want to eat.
  • Turn off your phone and be present during meals.
  • Be open to trying new foods. Try making a new recipe together, like this lentil salad:

Zesty Rice and Lentil Salad

Makes six servings



1 cup                     uncooked brown rice

2 cups                   water

2 whole                lemons, all zest and juice

1 Tbsp                   fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp                      Dijon mustard

½ tsp                     black pepper

1 can (19 oz.)     green or brown lentils, drained and rinsed

1 whole                bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced

2 cups                   kale, chopped

1 whole                apple or pear, cored and diced



  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions (usually 1 cup rice to 2 cups water).
  2. In small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger, Dijon mustard and pepper to make a dressing.
  3. Add lentils, cooked rice, bell pepper, kale and apple or pear to a large mixing bowl and gently stir to combine.
  4. Pour dressing over salad and gently stir to combine. Chill before serving, if desired.

Adapted from the Niagara Region You’re the Chef program and available in the Region of Waterloo Healthy Eating Recipe Book.

Brought to you by Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services.


St. Elizabeth Christmas concert 2019

St. Elizabeth Christmas Concert will be held on Wednesday, December 18th at 1:15 p.m. in the school gym. Please remember to park in the arena and if possible please stay for the entire show. Enjoy the performance!

Parking at St. Elizabeth

Parking at St. Elizabeth
This is a reminder that parents should not park anywhere on school property when dropping students off before or after school. The front driveway should be left clear for buses.
Parking is available on the road in front of the school, on the school side of the road (even numbers). However, the part of the road in front of Patton Drive should be kept clear, or you may be given a ticket.
Please do not walk pets onto school property at any time during the day.
Thank you for keeping our students safe.

Red Stocking Campaign

The WE Team at St. Elizabeth school will be collecting donations for our annual Red Stocking Campaign. We will be collecting items to send to needy children in Kenya through CFFC (Canadian Food for Children) and St. Mary’s church. The Red Stocking Campaign will run from Dec. 5th to Dec.16th.


Items can be donated individually or by filling up a stocking. The following items have been requested:

School Supplies – paper lined or blank, binders, pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, notebooks,

sharpeners, rulers, scissors, elastics, chalk, paperclips, pencil cases.

Small Games, Toys and Activities – drawing supplies, small balls, skipping ropes.

Hygiene Products – toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant etc.


Together we can help spread Christmas cheer around the world.


Umbrella Project Parent Newsletter (December Skills- Cognitive Flexibility)

This month our focus is on building cognitive flexibility . What will cognitive flexibility do for my
Life doesn’t always follow a predictable pattern; cognitive flexibility helps our children navigate
this uncertainty and feel like they have more options when faced with challenges. As things change
around them, they need to change in order to maintain their wellbeing.
With cognitive flexibility your child will be better able to change strategies when faced with new
and unexpected situations, make sense of the unfamiliar and thrive in uncertainty. Cognitive
flexibility is important for innovating, coming up with new ideas and solving problems, and is
essential to creativity. It will also help them understand people and situations that are different
from theirs and improve their relationships.
This month we can’t wait to walk you through this cool skill and help you find ways to flex this
part of your child’s brain.
Success isn’t all about getting serious
Positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and focus at school. How does
this happen? Cognitive flexibility! The handy dandy skill can be increased just by using a little
humour. Use this month to focus on having some good family laughs before getting started on
homework or trying new things. It’s easy to get really serious about our child’s future success and
what they need to accomplish in order to get there. Unfortunately, the stress of this approach can
actually move them in the opposite direction of the success they were hoping for.
This month, laugh a little more as you help your child through the struggles of picky eating,
examtime or learning a new skill. Try telling a few jokes back and forth to set the tone for learning.
You may find this approach makes everybody more flexible.
Mix up your routine for a more flexible brain
Does your child thrive on routine? Do you and the school go out of your way to make the world
predictable for them? While I’m all for a good bedtime routine, sometimes we can take this too far
and prevent our children minds from building the confidence to deal with uncertainty.
I see many kids in my practice who struggle with stepping outside their comfort zones and the
natural tendency is to alleviate anxiety by keeping things the same and creating routines that the
childs’ brain can predict. While this may work to reduce anxiety in the short term, it doesn’t help
them navigate the inevitable uncertainty waiting for them in the future.
To overcome this, start a brain training program. Much like upping the weights at the gym, start
with small manageable changes to the routine that make them flex this part of their brain. Move
the furniture around more often, drive to school a different way, send them to a new summer
camp or generally just shake things up. The more times your child sees that different is safe, the
more new pathways they will build and the more flexible their brain will get.
Let your kids in on the plan. It’s more fun when they can see their successes and these should be
celebrated. Even if your child isn’t struggling with anxiety now, help them proactively build this
skill in advance of needing it. There’s nothing wrong with liking routine but make sure it is a point
of pride in your family to be ok with the unfamiliar too.
Use picky eating to build cognitive flexibility
Cognitive flexibility is all about having an open mind and being able to shift our perception of
something. Nothing could be better practice for this than eating. Kids are notoriously stubborn
when it comes to ruling foods in or out in a very black and white fashion. Instead of accepting
these decisions as the food rules you will obey, instead help them think flexibly about food.
There are millions of ways to prepare each food. In fact, there is an entire industry built around
new ways to prepare the same foods. Even the foods we love can be prepared in ways we don’t
like and likewise you can find preparations of most foods that can shift your child’s perception of a
food from black and white to grey.
Here’s an example in my house: my kids will often profess to disliking zucchini. While they don’t
like it stir-fried, they love the zucchini chocolate chip muffins we make. When they try to rule out
zucchini forever, I remind them that they just don’t like zucchini prepared that way but they do
like zucchini in our muffins (i.e.: it’s about preparation, not the food itself). This way when we
encounter a new preparation of zucchini they are much more likely to put it in the grey category
and open-mindedly give the new dish a try.
The best part is the more new things they try, the more cognitive flexibility they will build and
then the more new things they will be willing to try, and the cycle continues. You just have to start
the snowball rolling and it will gain it’s own momentum even when you step out of the equation.
The eventual goal of parenting is to create adults that can make good decisions for themselves and
this is a great place to start when it comes to food and flexibility.
See this blog for a more detailed look at coaching children through the challenges of building
cognitive flexibility: https://umbrellaproject.co/category/cognitive-flexibility/
Health and happiness,
Dr. Jen Forristal
Founder of the Umbrella Project

Book Fair Open Late Tonight!

Book Fair Open till 6pm


Just a reminder that St. Elizabeth’s book fair will be open late this evening until 6pm. Come out a support the school, the learning commons and have fun. There will be a Family Event Door Prize as well.


Santa for Seniors Donation

St. Elizabeth is collecting loonies and toonies this week for Saint Luke’s Place as part of our Community Outreach initiative. Donations will go towards the Santa for Seniors program, specifically the music ministry, that improves residents mental and emotional well-being. The donations must be in by Mon.Dec.9th.

Wellness Committee


Crystal Stere

Planning Time Teacher

St. Elizabeth School

50 Adler Dr.

Cambridge, ON



“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein


Scholastic Book Fair 2019

St. Elizabeth’s book fair will be taking place Monday, December 2nd through until Friday, December 6th. Preview day for students will be Monday, December 2nd and purchasing will take place from Tuesday through until Friday.

Wednesday evening the book fair will be staying open until 6pm.

Books make WONDERFUL Christmas presents!


Mrs. Bowdring

Library Technician

Making Our Holiday Meals Healthier Using Canada’s Food Guide

The holiday season is fast approaching, and food and beverages are often central to many of our holiday celebrations and festivities. The new Canada’s food guide is a great tool to help you and your family make healthier food choices throughout this holiday season.

  1. Keep Proportions in Mind

Encourage your family to use Canada’s food guide as a model at holiday meals. Aim to fill half the plate with vegetables and fruit and choose protein foods and whole grain foods for the other two quarters of the plate.


  1. Be Mindful

The new food guide encourages us to think beyond what we eat, and to also think about how we eat. During celebrations there is often an abundance of food and festivities. Use these tips to help your kids be more mindful eaters in the busyness of the holiday season:

  • Take time to eat: find the time and space to sit down as a family and focus on eating without any distractions.
  • Notice your feelings of hunger and fullness: encourage kids to make food choices based on their hunger level, rather than boredom or availability.


  1. Think about your drink

There are lots of sweets and treats during the holiday season. Replacing sugary drinks with water is a simple way to reduce the amount of sugar your kids are having. Let your kids try adding fresh fruit to water if they want a special drink for a special occasion.  Here are some ideas to try:

  1. Chopped apples + cinnamon stick
  2. Cranberry + lemon
  3. Raspberries + cucumber
  4. Blackberries + mint

*To avoid risk of choking, make flavoured water in a pitcher and serve in glasses without fruit or flavours.


  1. Think Beyond Food to Celebrate

Finally, instead of celebrating with food, try celebrating with a family activity like playing a favourite game, making a holiday craft, going skating or playing outside.


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