The Healthy Choices Programming at the ILRC had pretty humble beginnings. Many years ago, members had asked if we could host some cooking classes. These classes started out with simple recipes being cooked by the group of attending paritipants and always ended with sharing the meal that had been prepared. Along the way, was information about how to do this for yourself at home and people began to get excited and more informed about the choices they could make when it came to their nutrition and overall health. Years ago, there was very little funding to promote this specific initiative - but eventually the United Way of Thunder Bay was approached with the concept and the newest version of Healthy Choices was born in 2008!
The United Way agrees that the benefits of ensuring that all Persons with Disabilities have access and information to make the best choices possible is important. This program goes well beyond the science of eating healthy and staying active - it gives us the ability to explore food in the social sense as well. Coming together as a group; learning and sharing in the process is what has made this program the success it is today.
There are many individual components to our Healthy Choices Program but they can be best broken out into the following categories.
If you have any requests or ideas for upcoming workshops, feel free to let staff know.
Good Food Bag:
Each month, eligible participants will receive a good gift of items that they can use to cook at home. Accompanied by recipes and storage tips, the food gift is a teaching tool that enables participants to experience healthier choices and greater variety. The food gift generally enables a single person to access fresh, whole foods that can be prepared to accommodate up to 5 days of meals (in accordance to the Canada Food Guide portion requirements). This group learns to cook new and healthy meals, shop for healthier food choices, and maintain a food budget.
- Any active participant of our centre may request to be involved in this area of Healthy Choices.
- Only an ILRC staff member can assess your suitability and refer you to Good Food Bag
- Not all participants will be suitable, but ILRC staff will discuss this in detail with you
- Participants will only receive Good Food Bag for a pre-determined period of time
- Participants will agree to a clear schedule of dates for which they will receive the Good Food Bag.
- Food gift contents are purchased the morning of the pick-up day to ensure quality and freshness
- Participants are required to pick up their food gift on that day only between 1:30pm and 3:00pm
Please note that Good Food Bag is intended only as an education tool to enable independent persons with disabilities to become familiar with and learn more about making healthy choices. This is not intended as emergency food or as a substitute for the amazing and much needed work undertaken by other organizations that provide that specific service.
The following guides have been produced for this program and are written to be easy to understand.
Eating Healthy on a Budget
This resource was produced by ILRC and helps identify way to eat healthy on a modest budget.
Understanding Canada's Food Guide
Health Canada produces the Canada's Food Guide to assist Canadians to ensure that we are eating enough nutrients from each of the food groups. The food guide separates foods into major groupings: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives. Our Healthy Choices Program has put together a guide to help you better understand how to use the food guide.
If you would like a copy of Canada's Food guide or other useful information, please follow the links below:
National Labels - Understanding What's In Your Food
The information found on the Nutrition Facts label gives us the power to understand what is in the food we so that we can make informed choices about the foods and drinks we consume. Knowing 'how' to read these labels gives us more skill than ever to make the best choices possible for our health.