CSAHS Celebrates Nutrition Month

Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Happy Nutrition Month! As we explore this year’s theme Unlocking the Potential of Food, we wanted to highlight some of the great work going on in College of Social and Applied Human Sciences that helps demystify nutrition and improve access to healthy and sustainable food.  

Here are a few of the impactful people and groups making a difference on the U of G campus.  

Guelph Family Health Study Shares Research Findings 

This year Guelph Family Health Study (GFHS) shared exciting findings from their student researchers, including: 

  • Most children’s breakfasts lack recommended nutrients 
    • Most GFHS children eat breakfast to start the day, but these breakfasts often do not include all the recommended nutrients, such as protein, fat, and dietary fibre. 
  • Few children consume artificial sweeteners 
    • Very few GFHS children consume artificial sweeteners, like stevia leaf extract, acesulfame K, sucralose, monk fruit extract and aspartame. This is great news, because Canada’s Food Guide recommends limiting intake of artificial sweeteners for all population groups. Watch for hidden sources of artificial sweeteners in freezies, oral nutritional supplements, flavoured water, carbonated drinks, sugar-free jam and protein powder. 
  • Most children aren’t eating enough healthy fats 
    • Early exposure to healthy fats like omega-3s is important for a child’s growth and development and low intake of healthy fats may increase risk for developing chronic diseases later in life. Many GFHS children do not meet healthy fat recommendations in their diet. Increasing intake of foods with healthy fats such as salmon and flax seeds can help kids reach the recommendations.  
  • Having your children help in the kitchen can reduce picky eating 
    • When GFHS children help with grocery shopping and preparing meals, they are less likely to be picky eaters. To get your child involved in the kitchen, let them cook with a friend for a play date, have them clean veggies or grate cheese, or let them set the table. When taking kids grocery shopping, start with a short trip rather than a big weekly shop, try to avoid the ‘problem aisles’ filled with treats, and instead let them choose the fruit and veggies for the week.  
  • Involving fathers at mealtime can help children have healthier diets 
    • We learned that when both mothers and fathers helped to prepare meals, GFHS children tend to eat a more balanced diet. When fathers model healthy eating, GFHS children also eat a more nutritious diet. These results highlight the importance of including fathers in family health research. 

Looking for new kid-friendly and healthy recipes you can prepare at home? Download one of GFHS’s free cookbooks, including recipes with plant-based proteins, recipes to prevent food waste, healthy snacks, make ahead recipes, and more! 

New Book Explores How Food Systems Designed for Mars Could Transform Food on Earth 

Dr. Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute and professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics explores the question “Could we feed a city on Mars?” in the book Dinner on Mars. Fraser believes that in building a sustainable Martian food system, we can change food systems on Earth to become less wasteful and more efficient. 

Learn more about Dinner on Mars

U of G Researchers and Community Members Co-Design Project to Address Food Insecurity and Healthy Eating 

On January 19, 2023, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield announced that the government was providing funding for a two-year project to promote healthy eating by increasing access to healthy, affordable and culturally specific foods for residents in Guelph’s Onward Willow neighbourhood. The project Food Uniting Neighbours, led by Applied Human Nutrition faculty member Dr. Jess Haines, will bring together members of the community, community partners, and U of G researchers to design practical interventions that will improve food access. 

Learn more about the Food Uniting Neighbours Project

Community Engaged Scholarship Institute Addresses Food Insecurity 

Two projects led by the Community Engaged Scholarship addressed food insecurity for newcomers and students in Guelph.  

The Affordable Food Map for Newcomers Project - Working with Chalmers Community Services Centre, students in the community engaged teaching and learning program created an affordable food map of Guelph that Chalmers and other community members can use to support health and wellbeing for newcomers and other marginalized groups. 

Fresh Food Market to Address Student Food Insecurity - What began as a survey about student food insecurity at U of G conducted by the Guelph Lab and Meal Exchange has expanded to include numerous partners and universities, seeking to raise awareness and spur significant social and institutional change. 

This is just a glimpse of the great work going on in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences! For more announcements about our work, follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

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