Step by step, bite by bite: How FoodFit is helping people take control of their health

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Come April, four new organizations will be helping people living on limited incomes moving more and eating better through FoodFit, a 12-week health and wellness program. Generous funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada will fund four organizations to offer the program: Ateliers Je Suis Capable in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec), Sherbourne Health Centre (Toronto, Ontario), Six Nations Health Services (Ohsweken, Ontario), and (Cowichan Green Community Foundation (Duncan, British Columbia). These new grant recipients join the 13 organizations across Canada already running FoodFit in their community.

FoodFit supports people living on low incomes to make lasting changes to their health within the limits of their circumstances by giving participants simple, useful tools to navigate make good food choices for themselves and their families. Each FoodFit session combines group exercise, food skills lessons, nutrition tips, all in a supportive setting, empowering participants are building a toolkit to lead a healthier lifestyle — making minor changes that can snowball into major wins.

Here are some stats and stories on how existing FoodFit programs are impacting participants from coast to coast.

Learning to eat and eating to learn: Nutritional education

FoodFit is not a weight loss program, but rather an introduction to the types of foods, eating practices, and physical activities that can contribute to all-around health and help prevent and manage chronic disease. 97% of participants learned something new about healthy eating.

“My girlfriend and I are living a healthier life. We buy more healthy foods and substitute for our meals. We prepare raw salads every day with a variety of fresh ingredients. We are more conscious of our grocery purchases. It feels very nice to prepare affordable, fresh, delicious and healthy meals together.” — participant at The Alex CFC, Calgary, AB

Let’s get physical! Physical activity

Pairing physical activity with cooking skills is part of the program’s magic. At weekly meetings, participants walk together for 30 minutes walk together, and are encouraged to do the same daily for the duration of the program. 58% of participants increased their daily average steps over the course of the program — on average, the program boosted steps by more than 2,500 steps per day.

“FoodFit provided the motivation to diet and exercise that resulted in actually getting a job delivering flyers (walking and climbing stairs).” — participant at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, Vancouver, BC

Slice, dice, serve: Cooking skills

Cooking skills are the building blocks of a healthy life and FoodFit makes it easy to get into the kitchen. By providing take home recipes and cook-ahead meals that participants prepare and share with their families, FoodFit makes it fun to eat healthy and well. 83% of participants made improvement in at least one food skill such as cooking or nutrition knowledge; the average was improvement in four different skills.

“FoodFit has made a significant impact on how I see eating healthy. The shift in thinking what I can’t have to what ‘healthy’ I can add in is a positive encouragement and has liberated the way I cook.” — participant at The Local CFC, Stratford

Made with love: Group support and social connection

FoodFit provides a safe and supportive environment for people to explore ambivalent feelings toward making change. No one is there to preach and prescribe healthier choices. Instead, peers cheer each other on down the path to better health. 91% of participants made a new friend in the FoodFit program; 93% of participants met someone they could go to for support.

“The most positive change that FoodFit made in my life was to connect me to some amazing people that have helped me make huge improvements to my life physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially.” — participant at Interior Services, Kamloops, BC

Taking control: Making real and lasting change

Flexible goal-setting empowers people to really take their health into their own hands by choosing personal goals tailored to their circumstances. Ultimately, we see that change happens when people are aware of the small daily choices they can make toward living a healthier lifestyle.

“My health is better and I feel confident and in control of my decisions. At the end of the day I am in charge of my health.” — participant at The Local CFC, Stratford, ON

We would like to congratulate the four newest grantees on joining the FoodFit family and we look forward to their great results in supporting people along the journey to better health. Click here for more information about our FoodFit grants.

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