Moncton food bank offers cooking classes to help residents improve health
A Moncton food bank thinks it has found the perfect recipe for helping people experiencing food insecurity to live healthier lives.
For the past year, the Peter McKee Community Food Centre in Moncton has been teaching people living on limited means how to cook more nutritious food as part of a weekly cooking class.
“The end result definitely is to make sure that everybody does eat nutritionally and to be shown different tips and tricks on how to make their food dollar stretch and how to look at ingredients they may not have looked at before,” said Suzanne Melanson, who runs the back-to-basics cooking classes.
Melanson said the kitchen is open to anyone in the community who wants to enhance their culinary skills. The ultimate goal of the free cooking classes is to help people live happier and healthier lives.
According to a national study released in 2018, one in eight Canadians struggle to put food on their table, which not only impacts their physical and mental health but also puts a financial strain on the health-care system. Research also shows that adults living in food-insecure households report having poorer physical health and are more vulnerable to chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Moncton’s Charlene MacLean is one of those people.
MacLean lives on limited means and relies on the food bank for her groceries. Until she took the cooking classes, her health was suffering.
“I used to get really dizzy and black out. I was lacking vitamins bad,” she said.
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But since taking the classes, MacLean has learned easy ways to cook more nutritious foods that she would never normally eat.
“I never knew that I could cook meatloaf with beans or cauliflower, mashed potatoes, and sometimes, in the food bank, we would get a lot of beans,” MacLean said.
Since learning how to cook healthier foods, MacLean said her dizzy spells have stopped.
“I am getting healthier and I am feeling more motivated to try new things,” she said.
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