‘I’ve observed an enormous distinction’: Saskatoon meals financial institution Meals Match program a recipe for wholesome residing

We’ve all been there, staring into the pantry, wishing the culinary skills required to turn a hodgepodge collection into a delicious meal.

I can cook anything from anything.– Felicia Chamberlain

Consider the same gastronomic dilemma with the added pressure of knowing that the challenging collection of ingredients you are staring at is all of the food available to your family.

“We create meals with very simple basic tools to help them complete the program and navigate the increasingly complex food environment we are now experiencing,” said Chelsea Szachury in an interview with Saskatoon Morning on CBC Radio.

Szachury is with the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Center.

For about a year now, the Tafel has been teaching people how to prepare delicious healthy meals and using those high quality calories wisely with their Food Fit program.

Felicia Chamberlain is a Food Fit graduate.

“I can cook anything my husband says.”

Recently, the now culinary-savvy Chamberlain cooked a shepard’s pie with some vegetarian burgers delivered in her grocery basket, a meal that received rave reviews from her family.

“You devoured the whole two trays,” Chamberlain said.

Felicia Chamberlain, shown here in a shirt that has gone from tight to loose over the course of the show, shows one of her many successes in the kitchen. (Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Center)

The food bank has partnered with the Community Food Centers of Canada, which developed the curriculum, and the Medavie Health Foundation, which funds the program.

It is aimed at low-income families and lasts 12 weeks. Participants first go through a checklist to find out how much they know about food preparation. Fitness is also a part of that journey, and so general health indicators such as blood pressure and weight are also recorded.

The participants cook together, eat together and train together.

“Canadians are supposed to do 30 minutes a day. A lot of people don’t know how to do 30 minutes a day, do they walk, do yoga, do they stretch? So we add 30 minutes to our classes and I have one with all of our participants noticed big difference, “said Szachury.

Dancing in the kitchen

This part of the program is also a great success for Chamberlain. She always wore the same t-shirt when health data was collected, and in the beginning the red shirt was body-hugging, and now Chamberlain remarked that “it’s like free flowing water!”

Given these results, Chamberlain has adopted a more active lifestyle, more walking, and taking regular fitness classes.

A certain level of cooking skills and a pinch of fitness have proven to be key ingredients in an overall recipe for change that had a huge impact on Chamberlain. Chamberlain not only enjoys the glowing reviews of her cuisine, she also steps a little easier.

“I do yoga stretches every time I dance around my house.”

The participants in the program cook together, eat together and train together. (Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Center)

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