Creating a supportive food environment extends beyond what food is accessible in your work or community setting.
There are evidence-based resources and online courses for community partners to access for continuing education opportunities for staff. These materials will deepen one’s understanding of the many issues involved when trying to create a supportive food environment.
One of those issues is Diet Culture. Diet Culture is a system of beliefs that equates thinness with health and higher status. Diet Culture has created something called Weight Bias. Weight bias is pervasive across all settings. Settings can mitigate the harmful effect of weight bias by creating weight neutral environments.
Another issue affecting all settings is Climate Change. Reducing food loss or waste and eating more plant foods are two climate-supporting strategies that we can all work on. The Health of Canadians in a Changing Climate is at risk, especially for marginalized communities. Learn more about evidence-informed responses to climate change with:
ODPH Child Care Resources like the Practical Guide for Menu Planning and the Menu and Nutrition Environment Self-Assessment Tool to help centres assess their menus to meet the food and drink requirements in the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (section 42 of Ontario Regulation 137/15).
Food is Our Medicine by Nourish Leadership is designed to introduce health care professionals and leaders to new and different ways of understanding the complex relationships between Indigenous foodways, reconciliation, healing and health care. This Action Learning Series includes a Learning Journey online course, interactive webinar series and a digital resource library.
Getting started with Healthy Eating in Your Recreation Setting includes information on building a business case, how to include healthier choices when creating Requests for Proposals and Contracts, vending considerations, sample policy recommendations and helpful resources.
The classroom is a special space that can help students develop a healthy relationship with food. Teachers can create a classroom that supports a child’s healthy growth and development, including their mental health, by ensuring the classroom is an emotionally safe and healthy place to be. This includes the language and resources used to talk and teach about food. These resources provide evidence-based information to reduce diet culture harms and curriculum-based lesson plans to promote a healthy relationship with food.
Research shows that children learn best when they are well nourished. Each school can participate in providing a universally- accessible student nutrition program. Visit Ontario Student Nutrition Program – Southwest Region (osnp.ca) for more details.
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