Exposing Sugary Drinks

Revealing Sugar

Good Food for All reveals how to de code sugar in nutrition labels, gain a better understanding of how sugar affects your body, and discover which sugars are most and least beneficial to you.  Prepare to be shocked by the amount of sugar that goes into drinks you probably didn’t think twice about.

Elizabeth Fisher demonstrating sugar quantities in favourite drinks at the Eastside Afterschool Program.

Finding Sugar on Nutrition Labels

QUANTITY 

The amount of sugar is always listed in grams represented by the letter g. Sugar is listed under Total Carbohydrates.

It’s important to account for the grams of sugar in relation to the indicated serving size. Consider that often drinks have more then 1 serving per bottle. In this example there is 65 grams of sugar per bottle (20 oz) – that’s more than double your  recommended daily recommended intake for added sugar!

The recommended daily amount of added sugar is 25 to 37 grams per day which includes everything you eat or drink. 

LANGUAGE 

There are different types of sugar, nutrition labels use a variety of language to identify them. In this label it’s sucrose, glucose and high fructose corn syrup. Familiarizing yourself with this language will make understanding nutrition labels easier.

There are 51 different types of sugars and sugar combinations that all result in the sweet taste we love. The trick is understanding which are the most beneficial to our bodies and which are the least. The main difference is if a sugar is primarily natural like fruit, or primarily processed like white sugar.

Negative Effects of Processed Sugar

There are many natural sugars, the most common include: Fructose, Glucose and Lactose 

  • Efficient way to naturally preserve food
  • Natural sugars in moderation boost brain health and help maintain energy levels
  • Delicious

Positive Effects of Natural Sugar

There are many natural sugars, the most common include: Fructose, Glucose and Lactose 

  • Efficient way to naturally preserve food
  • Natural sugars in moderation boost brain health and help maintain energy levels
  • Delicious

Understanding Sugar

The Sugar Effect

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is absorbed into the blood stream, and blood carries it out to every muscle to be used for energy. Our bodies need sugar to function properly. However, if we eat more sugar then we need our body will store the excess for later use.

Sugar Highs (and Lows)

When sugar goes into the blood stream sugar levels spike, which spikes energy levels. This is known as a sugar high.

The issue with a sugar high is energy levels spike almost as fast as they plummet. An average sugar high will last from 30 minutes to an hour. Following the peak of a sugar high is a fast energy decline.

This graph represents a person’s blood sugar after eating a Snickers Bar. When blood sugar is its peak, so are one’s energy levels. Notice how the peak of the blood sugar levels is 10 minutes after ingesting the Snickers Bar and quickly drops after the peak.

Sugar in Drinks

Water

Coconut water

Kombucha

Orange juice

Greene smoothie

Gatorade

Eastside Afterschool Program’s youth

Youth were shocked to find out how many grams of sugar they were drinking every day.

Good Food educates youth on nutrition and empowers them to make their own healthy decisions.

Help empower youth to foster a healthy society.

Donate to help fund our nutrition education programs.

Stay Tuned!

 Upcoming post: recipe for low and natural sugar juice and pop alternative.

Game Time: Fast Meals to Full Meals

60% of youth in the Eastside Afterschool Program have to make or buy dinner for themselves every day. Our latest nutrition education session taught youth how to go from fast meals to full meals by taking food pantry staple items and making them healthier, whole and balanced.

Good Food creates a fun atmosphere and incorporates cognitive learning experiences into our nutrition education sessions. We created a game to help the youth start thinking about how to turn basic cost effective staples into healthier options.

The Need for Food Skills Classes at Eastside

 25% of youth don’t eat dinner every night.

40% of youth’s parents prepare dinner for them regularly, while 40% cook dinner for themselves. 

31% have ingredients supplied at home for them to make dinner, while 40% feel they spend too much of their own money eating out because of the options available at home.

40% say they have experience cooking with their parents, while 20% say they have to cook for their siblings.

40% say they’re confident in there cooking skills, while 50% are interested in developing their cooking skills and eating habits.

33% state they have started working on there own meal prep routine, mainly their school lunches.

How to Play Fast Meals to Full Meals

Objective

Come up with the most unique and tasty recipe using food pantry staples and additional ingredients!

Materials

3 to 4 pantry staples foods:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Ramen
  • Spaghetti sauce and noodles
  • Rice

6+ added ingredients:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Tofu dogs
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Vermicelli noodles

Preparation

  1. Write down all food items onto individual flash cards (one item per card).
  2. Create a display using all items.

Rules

  1. Divide the group into pairs, each pair gets one set of flash cards containing all items.
  2. Each pair must collectively choose and combine flashcards to transform into a recipe. Each pair has 3-5 minutes to complete the challenge.
  3. Each pair will share their recipe combination with the class and vote for their favourite combination.
  4. You’re not allowed to vote for your own recipe.

Good Food for All’s Winner 

The recipe that won our round of Fast Meals to Full Meals was:

  • Spaghetti sauce and rice pasta
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Broccoli
  • Tofu

Good Food Fighting Food Insecurity

Good Food for All targets short term food insecurity by providing healthy snacks to youth in our programs. Through nutrition education we target long term food insecurity by empowering and educating youth to develop healthy skills and habits lasting a lifetime. 

Donate to impact youth’s quality of life by funding our nutrition education programs. 

 

Gracie joins Good Food!

Grace Bell  joined the Good food for All team as Food Security and Nutrition Education Program Assistant in June 2018 after graduating high school.


 

 

 

 


 

I’ve been part of the  Eastside Afterschool Program community for the past 3 and a half years, witnessing Good Food grow from the time they partnered with East Side Boxing Club in 2015. The collaborative efforts from both organizations has greatly impacted my life by providing opportunities, support, resources and inspiration.

I plan to pursue a career that incorporates all the passions closest to my heart: holistic medicine and nutrition, education and advocacy, mental wellness, writing and business.

Gracie at East Side Boxing Club leading nutrition education sessions. 


Through the Peer Leadership program, Good Food for All has given me a platform to transform my passions into skill sets all while helping to grow my community. Elizabeth Fisher, founder and Executive Director of Good Food for All mentors me every step of the way and continuous to congratulate me on my efforts and challenges me to improve my skills.

The opportunity of becoming part of the Peer Leadership Program as well as becoming a Peer Coach, has helped me develop the confidence to take on leadership roles in all aspects of my life.

 

 

Youth Led Nutrition Education Session

====student becomes the masteR====

Good Food for All provides a variety of peer leadership opportunities for youth in our programs. Our leadership opportunities are designed to help youth develop responsibility, organizational skills, management skills, public speaking skills, and food skills, all while helping their community.

Smoothies with john

John Graham has been an active member of the Eastside Afterschool Program for the last two years. He’s the first youth to participate in one of our peer leadership opportunities. In 2017, John was Good Food’s Foodie of the Year, an award given out annually to a youth who excels in our nutrition education sessions and incorporates the lessons into their daily life.

John took initiative and offered to share his food skills with his peers by teaching a nutrition education session. He reaserched smoothie recipes, made a shopping list and presented his smoothies to the class using the magic bullet he was awarded as Foodie of the Year.

John demonstrated a variety of options using his favourite ingredients. He encouraged his peers to experiment and discover their own favourite smoothie recipe!

Johns smoothie Ingredients
  • Pineapple
  • Frozen berries
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Hemp hearts
  • Bananas
Quote from john

“I was happy to share what Good Food for All taught me about nutrition with my friends. Good Food has helped me develop the skills I need to lead a happy and healthy life and I think everyone deserves that chance.”

– John Graham, 18


Good food for all and FOREVER
John and Gracie at the Eastside Afterschool Program Year End Party

Good Food is passionate about helping young leaders develop their food and professional skills. We aspire to inspire a creative mindset and provide a positive space for youth to develop their passions.

Donate to help fund our peer leadership opportunities.

Breakfast of Champions

=====================Morning routines=====================

Good Food shines a light on morning routines to youth in the Eastside Afterschool Program,  helping youth get a healthier start to their day.

Breakfast is key for achieving success in school, work and physical activity by improving brain function and energy levels. Practising a routine every morning teaches youth self discipline, improves confidence and most importantly nourishes them.

Our program’s youth

In the Eastside Afterschool Program,

  • 73% eat breakfast 3-5 times a week.
  • 20% of youth’s parents prepare breakfast for them.
  • 60% have the groceries needed to eat breakfast.
  • 20% rely on breakfast programs
  • 27% never eat breakfast.
Healthy breakfast foods

We frequently stock the food pantry which youth have unlimited access to.

We asked the youth what they like to eat for breakfast. They stated foods including recipes from previous nutrition sessions and options we frequently provide.

  • Smoothies with juice or almond milk
  • Granola bars
  • Yogurt+ granola
  • Chocolate chia pudding
  • Fruit
  • High fibre cereals
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Eggs + veggie omelet
  • Green tea or hot lemon water instead of coffee
  • Rice

Greene Tea, antioxidants

Greene tea is high in antioxidants, improves brain function and helps the metabolism. It also lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

 

 

 

 

 


Hot lemon water provides high levels of vitamin C helping the immune system. Drinking it on an empty stomach improves digestion by stimulating the intestines. Also  stimulating the liver which helps to remove toxins from their body.

If you’re fighting off a sickness add some fresh ginger to give your immune system an extra kick.

Note: use a metal straw while drinking lemon water to avoid decalcification of the teeth.


Morning routine tips

We opened up the discussion to help youth achieve success in their goals.

  • Think about 5 things your grateful for. Focusing on gratitude sets your perspective to a positive one.
  • Practise meditaion and mindfulness instead of going on your phone first thing.(40% of our youth go on their phone first thing in the morning.)
  • Make your bed and start the day off with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Stretch or do yoga to naturally wake up your body and mind. Physical activity is a stronger stimulant than caffeine and decreases anxiety.
  • Run or bike to school.

The best morning routine is dependant on the individual. When you’ve found one that works for you make it a goal to practise it 2-3 times a week for starters.

Canada’s youth

An article by The Georgia Straight states that 20% of youth in Canada are at risk of going to school hungry. In the Indigenous community, 50% of youth go to school hungry every day. Educators hosted a study on the importance of breakfast and 95% of teachers stated that students who did not have breakfast engage less and perform worse in school.

Good food for All provides healthy breakfast options for the youth to make at home. Including vegan, gluten and dairy free options. Our snacks always include a take home item typically fruit, granola bars and yogurt.

Breakfast and snack programs supplied by Vancouver School Board and Breakfast Club of Canada  provide cereal, toast, begals, juice and occasionally fruit, pancakes and sandwiches. Youth noticed no vegan, gluten or dairy free options are provided at these programs except the occasional side of fruit.

 

Good food for all AND FOREVER

We’ve recognized the need of long term healthy eating habits for the youth in our programs. We strive to educate and reinforce the habits that will last them a lifetime.

Donate to help youth develop healthy habits.

 

Foodie Field Trip- Get to know your local groceries stores

==================nutrition adventures ===================

Good Food for All hits the streets of East Vancouver for a grocery store field trip!

 

Cheryl Chang guided a tour of East Vancouver food spots – including a produce market, butcher, vegan store and bakery – with peer coaches from East Side Boxing Club’s Afterschool Program. The tour familiarized youth with the healthy and affordable grocery stores and produce markets in  their community.

Over the past 3 years of Nutrition Education Sessions, youth  most frequently request sessions on developing food skills. This field trip taught youth the skills to plan, purchase, and prepare healthy meals sourced from stores in their neighbourhood. They had a blast at this hands on, cognitive and visual learning experience.

Quotes

Noah is going into Grade 8 and always brings a positive and welcoming energy to Good Food’s Programs

” I liked learning about my community, produce and being with my friends. I learned the riper the fruit is, the heavier it is because there’s more juice!’


John is going into Grade 12 and has been regularly attending  the program for the last 2 years. He’s dedicated a large portion of his life to improving his health and is passionate about helping better his community. He’s also passionate about ensuring that everyone’s spirits are lifted by giving a good laugh.

“On the field trip I learned a variety of things. Some examples are taro is a type of potato that makes my favourite bubble tea flavour. I also learned to not buy the fish sitting on ice, but to ask for the fresher stuff! learning about the healthy food in my neighbourhood has prepared and inspired me to buy local groceries.”


Good Food is passionate about empowering and educating youth to make healthy decisions. We recognize preparing healthy meals at home is a much more affordable option then buying pre-made meals. Good Food seeks to decrease long term food insecurity by providing food skills training and creating  long lasting healthy eating habits.

Donate to help fund the young leaders healthy lifestyles.

School Lunch Meal Prep: Quinoa Salad

====School lunch survival guide====

With school starting up after a long hot summer, our latest food skills class targeted one of the hardest parts of school for many young local individuals: school lunch.

Many youth living in East Van face high levels of food insecurity. Between homework, projects, extra curricular activities and a part time job, planning and preparing a lunch every night is sometimes too much for many independent youth.

In the Eastside Afterschool Program:

  • 20% of youth rely on free school lunch programs
  • 35% regularly don’t have a lunch to eat
  • 40% make their own lunch every day
  • 5% of youth have a parent or guardian prepare their lunch for them

Gracie taught the youth a meal prep solution to their lunchtime needs: Quinoa Salad.

Meal Prep Class

Eating a balanced and sustainable meal midday improves student performance in afternoon classes. Eating a proper lunch reduces the energy crash youth often experience around 3pm.


Quinoa Salad is a game changer when it comes to school lunch meal prep. One big batch made on Sunday night will last until Friday. Prepping eliminates the need for making lunch every morning. It is also cost effective.

Quinoa salad, protein, health

Gracie’s quinoa salad

BASE

  • Prepare 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions (add turmeric to water while cooking)
  • 1 pepper chopped
  • 1/4 onion diced
  • 1 can of corn or 1 cup frozen corn
  •  1-2  celery sticks diced
  • 1/2 broccoli head chopped
  • 1  carrot chopped
  • 1 can black beans or chickpeas
  •  1 cup steamed edamame beans
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar for preservation

Mix all ingredients in a large container. Store in fridge up to 5 days.

DRESSING

For the presentation, we used lighthouse Sesame Ginger dressing. A simple  balsamic and Greek dressing also pairs well. Gracie encouraged the youth to try making their own dressing if they had the time, otherwise store bought does the trick!

PROTEIN/GREENS

This salad is protein packed, thanks to quinoa, edamame beans, chickpeas and broccoli. Add more protein with a hard boiled egg, a couple pieces of cheese or half an avocado to ensure a balanced meal.

Adding in fresh spinach, micro greens, and grape tomatoes is extremely beneficial to your health and delicious!

Easy as 1,2,3!

Now you’re set! It’s best to prepare your lunch container the night before or morning of to keep all the ingredients fresh.

Every morning or night add the base, salad dressing, protein and greens in your lunch container and your lunch is done for school! It won’t take longer than 5 minutes.

Eastside food skills

The youth witnessed the salad being freshly made during the education session. After their workout, they enjoyed it as a protein-packed post workout meal.

We’re grateful we can help impact the nutritional needs of the youth in our programs, and we encourage they share the knowledge they learn with their peers at school.

We frequently provide non perishable food in our  food pantry such as canned corn, beans and quinoa.

Help us keep our food pantry stocked:

Donate to our Programs

Fibre Fundamentals

====Fun fibre friday ====

Our latest nutrition session was on one of the most important parts of a healthy diet: fibre.

Fibre facts
  •  Fibre is one of the three molecules that make up a carbohydrate, the other two being sugar and starch.
  • Our bodies don’t absorb fibre for bodily functions, but rather use fibre as a bodily function.
  • There’s two different types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Both aid in the digestive process.

Chia, fibre, health

 

Soluble Fibre 

When trying to understand soluble fibre, think about chia seeds. When fibre is exposed to water in our intestines it swells up like a chia seed and forms a gel. This gel improves nutrient absorption and keeps us fuller and fueled up for longer.

 

Insoluble Fibre 

Insoluble fibre benefits the digestive process by helping digested food move through the intestines proficiently by adding bulk to the fecal material.  Insoluble fibre helps healthy gut bacteria flourish. Healthy gut bacteria helps promote the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, especially sugar, dairy, and starch.

Reading Nutritional labels

Fibre is listed under the carbohydrate section of a nutrition label along with sugar.  Nutrition labels rarely say the amount of starch found in a product. To calculate the starch found in a product, deduct the amount of sugar and fibre from the total carbohydrates. The remainder will be the starch.

(total carbs-fibre) – sugar = starch

Fibre, digestive health,

Average Recommended daily fibre intake
  • 38 grams for men under 50
  • 30 grams for men over 50
  • 25 grams for women under 50
  • 21 grams for women over 50
  • 26 grams for female youths ages 9-13
  • 30 grams for male youth ages 9-13

*try attaining roughly 14 grams for every 1000 calories you eat.

It’s important to prioritize high levels of fibre in our diets to maintain healthy digestion resulting in a healthy body. Fibre helps lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar, which protects against heart disease and diabetes. Studies show fibre is a key factor of achieving weight loss.

East side Afterschool programs

Good Food for All is dedicated to providing wholesome, organic, minimally processed and raw foods to the youth programs we partner with. Here’s some examples of what we bring in for the youth to enjoy.

Hummus, fibre, health, body, energy

High fibre Snacks
High fibre Food pantry options
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • lentil soup
  • bean soup
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Protein powder

 

Recipe for fun

Games,

Good Food incorporates a hands on cognitive learning experience in our Nutrition Education Sessions. This helps to develop team building and leadership skills while building relationships amongst youth in the community.

In our latest session the youth were involved in a game, working together to brainstorm which foods have the highest percentage of fibre.  Keep reading to learn how to play.

MATERIALS 

  • 6 flash cards (per team)
  • 6 fibre packed foods (scroll for suggestions)
  • pen

-Foods we used-

  • Popcorn 14.5%
  • Almonds 12.5%
  • Chia Seeds 34.9%
  • Quinoa 28%
  • Broccoli 2.6%
  • Bananas  2.6%

*%=Percentage of Fibre

PREPARATION

  1. Write down one food item per flash card, leave out the percentage of fibre.
  2. Split group up into 2-3 teams

HOW TO PLAY/OBJECTIVE 

Each team works together to list out all the foods from lowest percentage of fibre to highest. The team that gets the closest gets first pick of the food items supplied.

The youth had a great time working together and there was enough food for everyone who wanted to bring something home.

Donate to help fund our snack programs and nutrition education!

Your contribution will make a difference to many young people’s  quality of life.

 

 

 

 

Organic Produce: Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

====The ins and outs of organic produce ====

On  July 11th 2018 Beth Fisher (who also goes by Snack Mama) spoke to the East Side Afterschool Program.  She educated the youth about organic produce, including the fruits and vegetables the have the highest levels of pesticides.

The dirty dozen and the clean fifteen is a resource distributed by the Environmental Working Group to help the public choose which foods they should buy organic and when you can go non-organic.

Visit the EWG website for more information on leading a healthy lifestyle.

Top 5 most important foods to buy organic
  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Grapes
organic produce dirty dozen
This Photo contains a list of the produce that is most important to buy organic!

If you cannot afford to buy organic produce, please do not let this article stop you from eating the healthy foods listed above.  Instead, thoroughly wash and soak fruits and veggies before consuming them. This will help with removing some of the unhealthy chemicals.

Top 5 safest to eat non organic
  1. Corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pinneaple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
Organic produce avocados clean 15
This is a list including the safest foods to to buy non organic!

 

Pesticides, while typically vilified in the media, do have an important role to play in our modern food system.

Pros of pesticide use
  • Pesticides act as insurance against insect  infestations, which can wipe out entire crops. Insuring a more reliable produce source.
  • Pesticides protect produce during travel, when the fruits and veggies we love are under threat against other insects that love them too.
  • Pesticides cost money, but overall make growing food more affordable for farmers, businesses, and consumers.
Cons of pesticide use
  • Genetic resistance: due to evolution, different varieties of insects and rodents are becoming immune to the common pesticides, which calls for harsher and more potent chemicals.
  • The chemicals found is pesticides are harmful to the human body
  • Certain varieties of pesticides contain carcinogens, which are cancer causing.
  • Pesticide use is hard to contain, as organic produce grown in the same area can be contaminated by the chemicals due to pesticides travelling through the air.

The Eastside Afterschool Program’s youth showed interest in understanding why organic food is healthier. Thanks to our donors the kids and young adults have the skills to make healthy and affordable produce shopping decisions and are keen on spreading the knowledge with their families!

Make A Donation to Good Food for All

Foodie Q&A: The Health Benefits of Tzatziki

Good Food for All member Grace Bell taught the Eastside After School Program’s youth a simple yet delicious traditional greek recipe: Tzatziki!

Goodfoodforall, nutrition education, Foods Q&A, tzatziki
She demonstrated how to prepare the dish while explaining the nutrition benefits of each ingredient.

Tzatziki, foodie Q&A, post workout, food sustainability

Click on picture for recipe inspiration

 Healthy tzatziki recipe
  • 2 cups Plain greek yogurt.
  • 2 cups grated Cucumber.
  • 2 cloves grated Garlic.
  • 1/2 cups finely chopped dill.
  • 1/3 cups lemon juice.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper.
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kirkland organic no salt seasoning **optional.
Instructions- easy as 1,2,3
  1.  Squeeze grated cucumber over sink to remove access water.
  2. Collect all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. stir until an even consistency is reached and serve!

**store in refrigerator

 

lemon healthy

Health benefits
  • Plain Greek yogurt is high in protein and low in sugar making it a perfect post workout snack option.
  • Cucumber has a high source of fibre which is one of the healthiest carbohydrates and helps to sustain energy throughout the day.
  • Dill  helps with digestion, depression as well as menstrual cramps!
  • Lemon juice which is high in Vitamin C as well as helps with digestion and weight loss.
  • Garlic helps boost your immune system, as well as protects against common brain diseases.
  • Salt contains important minerals for our body including potassium, iron, zinc and calcium that assist with fluid balance and muscle function, however some varieties are healthier options such as Himalayan and sea salt.
  • Pepper stimulates the stomach which then produces more stomach acid and helps with the digestion of proteins.
  • Olive Oil is a healthy fat and contains antioxidants which helps to sustain our bodies energy and performance throughout the day.
  • Kirkland Organic no salt seasoning contains onions and tomatoes which both contain Vitamin C and Potassium.
eastSide afterschool program

The Eastside Afterschool Program is dedicated to inspire youth at risk, primarily from the downtown Eastside to become passionate about their mental and physical health. Providing a safe space for youth to workout, feel connected and supported by adults, as well as their peers. Good Food for All insures a continuous supply of healthy snack options as well as nutrition education.  Good Food plays  a large role in creating a program youth can depend on, resulting in initiative for these youth to lead  healthy lifestyles.

Youth programs, downtown Eastside, healthy community

Donate to Good Food for All Programs