Katie McKilligan on Managing Diabetes

Diabetes Awareness

Katie McKilligan led a Nutrition Education Session on using food to manage diabetes for youth in the Eastside After School Program at the East Side Boxing Club.

With our Nutrition Education Sessions, Good Food aims to educate and empower youth to lead healthy lives and inspire others to create the same change.

Diabetes rates have spiked across Canada in the last 20 years, disproportionately affecting Indigenous people and low-income populations. Diabetes rates are 3 to 5 times higher among the Indigenous community compared to the rest of the population. Indigenous and low-income populations are most commonly affected by type 2 diabetes.

Youth at the Eastside After School Program have friends, family and community members with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Our goal with this session was to empower youth with information on how to manage diabetes.

Nutrition, Education, Involved youth, diabetes
Katie McKilligan at the Eastside Afterschool Program.

About Katie

Katie McKilligan grew up in Vancouver. Her passion for soccer started at a young age and led her to play for the University of Calgary. During this time Katie started experiencing symptoms including hormonal imbalances and energy crashes which affected her overall quality of life and ability to play soccer. Doctors failed to diagnose Katie for the first year she experienced symptoms. She was eventually diagnosed at age 22 with type 1 diabetes.

Katie has overcome many challenges with diabetes.Through these challenges she’s learned how to properly manage the disease for herself and still plays soccer. She’s inspired by helping others understand how to manage the disease for themselves. She’s driven to spread awareness amongst a variety of communities to broaden the overall understanding of the diabetes epidemic and its need for support.

Katie now works for Roche – a leading medical research company. She’s passionate about advocating for reliable access, knowledge and support for people suffering from diabetes.

Katie created a website that is dedicated to supporting Jamaican youth suffering from type 1 diabetes as well as advocating for awareness of the disease. Katie has committed to raise $63,000 over the course of three years for Life for a Child. Life for a Child is a program supporting the medical needs of children in developing countries living with diabetes.

Key Points

  • Diabetes is a terminal and metabolic disease.
  • Diabetes can affect people in different ways.
  • Ask the diabetics in your life, what symptoms they experience when they have low or high blood sugar. Understanding their symptoms helps you identify when they happen.
  • Living with diabetes means managing a chronic illness 24 hours a day. You must understand how much insulin you’ll need for everything you ingest, and consider the symptoms in everything you do.
  • Diabetics need more self-care in order to maintain their mental and physical health.
  • Diabetics need to administer, test and monitor insulin throughout the day. There are different methods of doing this and it depends on the individual’s needs for the most effective option.
  • Make yourself aware of foods that spike blood sugar levels.

Understanding Diabetes: The Basics

During Katie’s session, one of the youth asked a very important question:

‘How can we support members of our community who have diabetes?’

Katie said one of the biggest ways to support people with diabetes is by understanding it.

Nutrients and Absorption

In order to understand diabetes, we must first understand insulin and its relation to how food is processed in our body.

Image 1.

Nutrient Groups

Breaking down the different nutrient groups to a molecular level helps us understand how it affects our body. Youth in our programs have already been introduced to different nutrient groups from past sessions.Taking the next step to understanding how nutrients are  processed was a smooth transition.

We started by collectively identifying foods that belonged to each group. For instance, chicken is a healthy protein and avocados are a healthy source of fat. When it comes to carbohydrates quinoa, yams and brown rice were all shouted out. It’s important to understand carbohydrates contain three different molecules; sugars, starch and fiber. Most carbohydrates have all three however, contain different levels of each.

Nutrient Processing

The next steps to understanding nutrients is understanding how the body absorbs them. Image 1 represents how proteins, fats and carbs are absorbed and used for different bodily functions.


Proteins

Protein molecules attach to enzyme molecules and are carried throughout the body for the purpose of muscle growth as well as providing the energy needed for bodily functions, especially healing injuries.


Fats

Fat cells attach to bile acids and transmit a long-term energy source to our brain and entire body.

Foods with high amounts of fat take longer to digest, resulting in your blood sugar progressively spiking at a slower pace.


Carbs

Sugar and starches

Sugar and starch start off as different molecules, our bodies break them down before they can absorb them to use as an energy source. After our body breaks them down the end result for both molecules is sugar.

As the sugar we process enters our blood stream for energy and travels to every part of our body, our pancreas goes to work to produce insulin. Insulin is what naturally lowers are blood sugar in order to keep a healthy balance. High blood sugar causes damage to blood vessels, nerves, organs and vision. High blood sugar is a leading cause of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Fibre
For more information about the magic of fibre check out Fibre Fundamentals.

Fibre is the other part of a carbohydrate. Our bodies don’t absorb fibre for bodily functions, but rather use fibre as a bodily function.

There’s two different types of fibre and they both help us out through the digestive process.

Soluble Fibre

When trying to understand soluble fibre, think about chia seeds.When it’s exposed to water in our intestines, it swells up like a chia seed and forms a gel.This gel maximizes the health benefits of food by slowing down nutrient absorption.

Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble fibre benefits the digestive process by helping digested food move through the intestines proficiently.

How Diabetes Affects Us

Diabetes is a disease that impairs the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin.

Insulin is used to process and manage the sugar in our bodies. Our bodies cannot function properly without it.

Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Food hangover (feeling groggy, tired and uneasy after a meal)
  • Physical and mental anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Rage blackouts
  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Tingling in the hands and feet

Insulin

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both caused by issues with insulin.

Insulin Insensitivity

Insulin insensitivity happens when your cells become less or non-reactive to insulin.This makes your body less effective at processing sugars, resulting in high blood sugar, resulting in diabetes.

How it works

If your body has to produce and process an excessive amount of insulin to make up for excessive sugar intake, the cells eventually become desensitized to insulin’s effect on them, resulting in high blood sugar. When your body becomes desensitized, it needs more insulin than your pancreas can produce.

Exhausted pancreas

If your diet demands a large amount of insulin to break down the sugars, eventually your pancreas will get tired.

How it works

When your pancreas gets tired, it lowers or stops its ability to produce insulin. Which results in high blood sugar leading to diabetes. This issue is typically what type 2 diabetics experience.

Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is more likely to stem from one’s diet and habits. Enough exercise, a healthy diet and managing stress levels are important factors when it comes to protecting yourself against it.

The reason why people get Type 1 diabetes is not clear but scientist, believe it stems from genetic and environmental factors such as viruses that trigger the effect.

Affects OF Diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetics have a 40% greater chance of developing clinical depression.
  • Food hangover.
  • Blindness.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Coma.
  • Limb amputation.
  • Physical and mental anxiety.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Rage blackouts.

Awareness and Advocacy

It’s important to note that although type 2 is affiliated with lifestyle choices, many people who suffer from it don’t have access to healthy food or activities, resulting in a lower quality of physical and mental health. We as a community must stop stigmatizing type 2 diabetics for being at fault for having a chronic disease. Advocating for justice when it comes to access and education of proper nutrition and physical activities is what will make the biggest impact.

Managing Diabetes

Cost

Managing diabetes is expensive. It can be extremely difficult for a large number of individuals and families living in Vancouver to maintain on a constant basis.

Vancouver General Hospital has youth programs aimed to educate youth around insulin maintenance.

The cost of managing diabetes on a daily basis is not the same for everyone. How much insulin needed and how many times one needs to test their blood sugar differs from person to person.

PharmCare supplies free insulin for BC citizens if they’re covered by the following programs

When it comes to the testing and monitoring process, resources are more limited. Pharmcare supplies needles and test strips and insulin pumps for the following plans.

There is no coverage available for nutritional food or physical activities.

 Impact On the Eastside After School Program.

Youth greatly appreciate having a more in-depth understanding of the disease and how to support their community.

Donate here to help grow our Nutrition Education and resources.

Donate here to help support youth with diabetes.

Your contribution creates a difference in their lives.

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.

 

 

Planning Your Career: Chef and Entrepreneur Heat Laliberte

Good Food for All’s Careers in Food Program is our job readiness and employability program offered to East Vancouver youth.  We aim to support youth on their continued path to a healthy and productive life after high school by helping them receive training, secure employment, and embark on a career pathway in the food industry. Long term, our goal is to increase stability in their lives and improve long term food security by securing higher incomes.

Good Food for All welcomed Cree-Mėtis chef and entrepreneur Heat Laliberte to the Eastside Afterschool Program as the first speaker in our Careers in Food Program series.

Heat’s own career path and personal success inspired the creation of the Careers in Food Program. His career trajectory exemplifies what happens when opportunity meets passion and hard work. We invited Heat to speak to youth to describe his journey and what it took to get to where he is today.

Chef and Entrepreneur Heat Laliberte discusses his career path with youth at the Eastside Afterschool Program.

Heat’s Story

Heat grew up in a low income household frequenting food banks. Heat began working in the food industry at establishments like Tim Hortons and Moxies and found a sense of family working in kitchens. Heat’s work ethic led him to find a chef mentor who encouraged him to attend Vancouver Community College’s Culinary Program and start an apprenticeship in the hotel restaurant industry. He was named Employee of the Year at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Heat cooked for athletes in the 2018 and 2018 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil and Pyeongchang, South Korea and will again in Tokyo, Japan in 2022. After completing the Aboriginal Business & Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) program, Heat went on to his own venture – One Arrow Artisan Meats – an artisanal bacon company that is a hit at the Vancouver Farmer’s. One Arrow can now be found on Spud.ca!

Together with Good Food for All and the Careers in Food Program, Heat wants to inspire at-risk youth to pursue careers in food:

“If you can get youth to experience the rewards of hard work, commitment and healthy choices it really sets them up for success in adulthood.”

 Heat’s Career Path

A Commitment to Give Back

Even with a full time job and his own business, Heat still prioritizes giving back to his community. He says, “I’m at the point in my life where I’m going to take my business full time and I want to be able to mentor people who want to be chefs as well. It’s a good way to give back to the community or to people who want to learn how to cook because you have the skill set to be able to teach other people as well.”

True to his personality, Heat brought some incredible prizes to give out at the conclusion of his talk with the youth.

Thank you to Heat for being a huge inspiration to us and always supporting our programs!

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.

Peer Leadership with Good Food for All

Leadership in Action: Preparing Snacks for the Eastside Afterschool Program

Introducing: Peer-Leadership at the Eastside Afterschool Program

The Eastside Afterschool Program aims to empower youth to make lifelong healthy choices by improving access to physical activity, nutritious food, education and a healthy community. Through the Peer-Leadership Program at the Eastside Afterschool Program, Good Food for All provides leadership opportunities for youth to get involved with our day-to-day activities at the program. Leadership opportunities include the chance to plan weekly snack menus, prepare food, plan and teach nutrition education and food skills sessions, and stock the food pantry.

The Peer-Leadership Program develops youth leadership skills, deepens their knowledge of nutrition and food, teaches food preparation skills, and provides vital pre-employment training for jobs in food-related industries.

To date, youth have assisted with preparing daily afterschool snacks for their peers, researching nutrition sessions, and teaching nutrition and food skills classes for their peers.

About the Eastside Afterschool Program

In 2017, over 400 youth from East Vancouver attended the Eastside Afterschool Program. Now in its 3rd year, the program is a collaboration of community partners working to encourage and promote holistic well-being and optimal development for youth in East Vancouver. Partners include the Eastside Boxing Club, Good Food for All, Aprons for Gloves, Network of Inner City Community Services Society, and RICHER Initiative. The partnership provides a safe space for at-risk youth in East Vancouver, supervised physical activity, leadership opportunities, and access to health care. Good Food for All provides nutritious afterschool snacks, a healthy food pantry, and nutrition education and food skills classes for youth in the Eastside Afterschool Program.

Support the Peer-Leadership Program

Good Food for All relies on donations from the community to run our programs.  Please consider making a donation so we can continue to ensure youth develop lifelong healthy habits.

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