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March is Nutrition Month - "Ingredients for a Healthier Tomorrow"

 

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of managing diabetes and being healthy, yet not everyone has equal access to healthy food. Communities across Canada are thinking about how we can all influence change to create a more sustainable food system. 

 

For the 2022 Nutrition Month Campaign, Dietitians of Canada is encouraging us to address the impact of food insecurity, food literacy, and food sovereignty to help ensure that every Canadian has the ‘ingredients’ to attain sustainable food choices, to create a healthier tomorrow.

 

 

These terms may be new to you, so what do they mean?

 

Food Security: is the ability to purchase enough food to prevent hunger and meet nutrition recommendations.  Pre-pandemic it was estimated that 12.8%, or 1 in 8 Canadians were food ‘insecure’, meaning they did not have the ability to meet those basic needs.  That number is now believed to have increased to 14% or 1 in 7.

 

Food Literacy: is about being able to understand how our food choices impact our health and how to prepare and cook food.  It means understanding how to read a food label and get meaningful information from it.  It also means developing skills so you can meal plan and save money resulting in healthier eating.  It can be as simple as washing & chopping vegetables so they are ready to grab for a snack or planning for leftovers to save you time. 

 

Food literacy also includes understanding where food comes from and its impact on the world around us including our environment and our economy.  It also includes understanding food safety and the working conditions of our farmers and people who work in agriculture and food production. It also involves understanding how we manage food waste.  For example, think about how you can reduce your use of pre-packaged foods.  Also try serving smaller portions and choosing to go back for more instead of taking too much and having waste on your plate. If you have waste, try composting.  

 

Food Sovereignty: is the right of all Canadians “to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems”.  Food sovereignty is a term used to describe how we can get to a place where no one goes without access to healthy foods of their choice.  It means reducing the distance between where food is grown and where we can buy it.  It supports fair livelihoods for those who work in food production and that we consider the impact on the environment of how we produce food.  It recognizes that food is sacred and is essential to life.

 

 

Take some time to:

  • explore local food markets as spring approaches,
  • ask your grocery store where foods come from,
  • ask your family, friends & neighbours if they have enough to eat,
  • find out where your local food bank is,
  • ask your children’s schools to consider snack or lunch programs,
  • get a community garden going in your neighbourhood. 

Food is fuel, food is medicine, and food provides us with opportunities to gather and enjoy each other.

 

 

Find healthy eating resources on these topics, and others, that include Diabetes:

 

Dietitians of Canada: www.unlockfood.ca

Diabetes Canada: www.diabetes.ca/nutrition---fitness/meal-planning

Dietitians of Canada 2022 e-Recipe Book: NM22-Recipe-eBook-EN-Final.pdf (dietitians.ca)

Weight Neutral for Diabetes Care: wn4dc.com/

Food Secure Canada: What is Food Sovereignty | Food Secure Canada

 

 

 

References:

 

1. Tarasuk V, Mitchell A. Household food insecurity in Canada, 2017-18. Toronto: Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity (PROOF); 2020.

2. Statistics Canada. Food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, May 2020. [Internet]. 2020, June 24. Available from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28- 0001/2020001/article/00039-eng.htm

3. What is Food Sovereignty. Food Secure Canada. (n.d.). Accessed November 23, 2021. Available from: https:// foodsecurecanada.org/who-we-are/what-food-sovereignty

 

 

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