Healthy Athletes with Sobeys

Sobeys Healthy Athletes

Making Better Food Possible On and Off the Field

Sobeys partnered with Special Olympics Canada to help more Canadians with intellectual disabilities, and their loved ones, Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better. Together, Special Olympics Canada and Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund will provide thousands of Canadians with intellectual disabilities—from two-year-olds to adults—as well as their families, caregivers and coaches access to nutrition guides, cooking classes and fresh, accessible food.

Sobeys employees share their passion for better food bringing this exciting partnership to life in hundreds of neighbourhoods across Canada through two programs focused on nutrition education:

Better Food Nutrition Sessions 

Sobeys employees lead nutrition sessions that focuses on quick and easy recipes, cooking skills and nutrition support. The hands-on, fun and interactive sessions share ideas, information and tips on how to incorporate better food as well as how to quickly and easily prepare healthy snacks and meals. Sessions began to be piloted in March at the following communities: 

  • Victoria, BC
  • Lower Mainland, BC
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba  
  • Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
  • Stellarton, Nova Scotia
  • Greater Toronto, Ontario

    Better Food Store Experiences: Sobeys stores across Canada have been selected to lead tours for Special Olympics athletes, coaches and caregivers on topics such as eating healthy on a budget and how to navigate a grocery store. 

    On August 22 and 24, St. Albert’s Sobeys offered a better food store experience led by Sobeys wellness counsellor, Laura Johnston. With a handful of athletes and parents, Johnston navigated the grocery store and talked about where to find quick and healthy meals and snacks and reminded the group of not just trusting the branding, but instead looking at the nutrition labels to see sugar content and fiber. She joked about digestion and farts while in the dairy isle and quizzed the athletes on what they learned from past healthy seminars and showed the ingredients used from cooking workshops. 

    Laura’s first introduction to Special Olympics was presenting a nutrition session at 2016 Special Olympics Alberta Coaches Summit. Here, coaches encouraged her to share this information with our athletes which led to piloting this opportunity for three weeks of healthy meal seminars at St. Albert in Servus Place. 

    “Ten minutes into the first day I was in love”- Laura Johnston, Sobeys Wellness Counselor, on Special Olympics athletes.

    “The biggest disconnect is all the information that is available,” said Johnston. 

    “We are bombarded on Instagram, Facebook and the internet, and the news and the radio saying “this is what you need”. But we get so bombarded that when you get to the grocery store, there’s so many other choices and marketing gets in the way that we can get so jaded of the system. To be able to teach those skills. To show them that we could build their ability to make healthier choices- to make simple healthy choices. And to show them where to find them in the grocery store.” 


    Laura Johnston is just one of the many food and health specialists of Sobeys who is passionate in informing Special Olympics athletes on how to use food to fuel their full athletic potential. Special Olympics Alberta is incredibly grateful to have Sobeys improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. 

    “We build confidence which is that is one of the biggest gifts in life you can give a child or an adult is to give them the skills and the desire to want to make a positive change.”- Laura Johnston, Sobeys Wellness Counselor.

    Check out our full post-food experience interview with Laura Johnston.