The Healthy Choices Program had pretty humble beginnings. Many years ago, participants 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.
Our Healthy Choices Program combines several types of program delivery that are all intended to increase a person's knowledge of being healthier. We host several cooking classes, physical activities and outtings that all fall within this area of our programming. Attending any of our cooking, physical activities or outtings listed on our montly recreation calendar is open to any participant of our centre, but are subject to sign up and avilable space.
You may also be eligible for the Good Food Bag portion of this programming. The Good Food Bag programming has its own separate eligibility requirements and eligible participants are required to sign an agreement of understanding with program staff. Further details are outlined below:
Good Food Bag - Teaching Food Gift:
Each month, eligible participants will receive a food 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 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 this program
- Not all participants may be suitable, but ILRC staff will discuss this in detail with you
- Participants will only receive food gifts for a pre-determined period of time
- Participants will agree to a clear schedule of dates for which they will receive the food gift
- Participants are required to attend a workshop that ends in recieving your food gift that will begin at 1:30pm and conclude no later than 3:00pm
- Participants are requried to agree to all the terms of program involvment or risk not being eligible for this program
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.