HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE COMMUNITY FOOD PROGRAM SETTING - PROVIDING HEALTHY FOOD PARCELS

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1 HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE COMMUNITY FOOD PROGRAM SETTING - PROVIDING HEALTHY FOOD PARCELS Individuals experiencing disadvantage have an increased risk of chronic disease, they are more likely to be overweight or obese, have heart disease or type 2 diabetes. 1 As a Community Food Program (CFP), you are providing free or subsidised food to Australia s most vulnerable community members. Therefore it is important to provide your community members with the best food possible to improve their physical health. Food parcels are the most common form of food relief, with 70% of agencies supplying food parcels. 2 Low income earners, the unemployed and single parent households are the most common groups of people accessing food relief. They require basic ingredients which can be put together to make healthy meals. Many people rely on food pantries or parcels from CFPs as their only source of food, so when putting together parcels, ordering stock or asking for donations, think about what types of healthy food will best support your community members. The following healthy eating tips will help to provide healthy, complete food parcels within your CFP setting. When making healthy food parcels, include foods from the 5 food groups (refer to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating The list below is an example of a parcel that provides all the nutrients needed to feed a family of four people (two adults and two children) for approximately two days or two adults for approximately four days if all foods are available from the basic and when available list. 4 This list is not a prescriptive meal plan and should be used only as a guide. 1. Seligman H, Laraia B, Kushel M. Food Insecurity Is Associated with Chronic Disease among Low-Income NHANES Participants. Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140: FoodBank End Hunger Report FoodBank NSW/ACT, National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, Queensland Government. The Food Security Project Rationale Food Security Toolkit. Queensland,

2 Table 1: Contents of a Healthy Food Parcel 4 Quantity Food Item Alternatives Basic Food items: 1 Breakfast cereal (500g) Choose wholegrain cereals e.g. wheat biscuits, rolled oats, muesli. 1 Pasta or rice (500g) Any dry pasta e.g. spaghetti, spirals, or tinned spaghetti. Any type of rice. 2 Bread (loaf or 6 rolls) Choose wholemeal or wholegrain if possible. 2 Mixed vegetables, tinned (450g) Other fresh, tinned or frozen vegetables e.g. peas, beans, carrot, beetroot, corn. 2 Tomatoes, tinned (450g) Other fresh, tinned or frozen vegetables e.g. peas, beans, carrot, beetroot, corn. 2 Vegetable-based soup, tinned (450g) Other fresh, tinned or frozen vegetables e.g. peas, beans, carrot, beetroot, corn. 4 Fruit, tinned (450g) Choose fresh fruit if available or fruit in natural juice 2 Baked beans, tinned (450g) Other tinned legumes e.g. three bean mix, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans, chick peas, lentils. 2 Tuna, tinned (425g) Canned chicken or ham, meat-based ready meals. 12 Eggs Any tinned or fresh meat, fish or chicken or meat alternatives e.g. baked beans. 4 UHT milk (1L) Fresh or powdered milk. 1 Margarine (250g) Unsaturated oils (e.g. olive, canola, sunflower). 1 Peanut butter (375g) Packets of nuts, nut bars. When Available: 7 serves Fresh fruit Choose a variety of types and colours. 1 serve = 1 medium size piece of fruit (e.g. apple, orange, banana) or 2 pieces of small fruit (e.g. apricots, kiwifruit), ½ punnet of strawberries, 150g tinned fruit. 4 serves Fresh vegetables Choose a variety of types and colours. 1 serve = 1/2 medium potato, 1, 2 sticks of celery, 1 medium tomato/ carrot/zucchini, 1/4 head of broccoli/cauliflower. 4 serves Fresh (raw) meat and meat alternatives 7 serves Fresh milk, yoghurt and cheese Condiments Tea, coffee, sugar Choose lean meat cuts and consider alternatives i.e. eggs, frozen fish, legumes. 1 serve = g red meat, 100g chicken, 115g fish or 2 eggs. Choose plain, natural and fruit yoghurts. 1 serve = 250mL milk, 200g yoghurt or 40g cheese. Pasta sauces, meal base sauces, herbs, spices. Can be added to the parcel if desired Note: If fresh items are not available, add more tinned or long-life products 21

3 HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE COMMUNITY FOOD PROGRAM SETTING A NUTRITIOUS FOOD PARCEL The image shows an example of a healthy meal parcel which provides food for 2 adults to last approx. 4 days. WHEN MAKING A FOOD PARCEL, THINK ABOUT THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL: Food Parcel Recipient People with limited cooking facilities (e.g. rough sleepers, people who live in boarding houses, couch surfing) People with limited cooking skills People with specific dietary needs or preferences (e.g. infants, coeliac disease, vegetarian) Culturally and linguistically diverse communities Specific Consideration Include ring pull tins, ready to eat foods, non-perishable items, single serve sizes where possible, personal hygiene products for food safety reasons and cutlery. Ensure all foods and preparation methods required to make healthy meals, are familiar. Determine food which can/cannot be eaten. Ensure all foods included in the parcel do not contain these ingredients. Check foods are culturally appropriate and the community member understands what the food is. ITEMS TO INCLUDE OCCASIONALLY Some foods are not essential in our diets and they often contain high amounts of fat, sugar and salt. These sometimes foods can offer variety, however it is recommended that they do not dominate a food parcel or be included instead of the foods in Table 2.1 Contents of a Healthy Food Parcel. Staff and volunteers may enjoy providing these foods out of care however limiting the following items will help your community members to keep healthy and reduce their risk of chronic disease such as overweight and obesity, heart disease and diabetes 5 : Cakes, pastries and sweet biscuits high in added sugar and saturated fat and offer little nutrition. Soft drink, energy drinks, cordial and juice very high in added sugar. Water is the best drink to offer and it s free. Lollies, chocolate and other sweet snacks eating sweet treats can replace healthier food items that the body needs. 5. Queensland Government. The Food Security Project Items to include occasionally. Queensland,

4 Table 2: Healthy parcel checklist 6 Vegetables and Fruit Breads and Cereals Meat, Poultry, Fish Dairy Products Is half of the parcel vegetables (canned or fresh)? Is there variety? Is fruit available (fresh, canned or dried)? Have legumes been included (i.e. four bean mix, chickpeas, cannellini beans, butter beans etc)? Are wholegrain options available for extra nutrients and fibre (i.e. brown rice or wholegrain pasta)? For breakfast, are the options high fibre, wholegrain (e.g. Weetbix, oats, muesli)? When available, have lean cuts of meat or skinless chicken or fish, been included? Have processed meats (e.g. sausages, salami, bacon, devon, ham, frankfurts) been kept to a minimum? Have dairy foods (UHT or fresh milk, cheese, yoghurt) been included in the parcel? Has reduced fat dairy been used in place of full fat where possible? Fats and Oils Have unsaturated oils and margarines been included (e.g. olive, canola, sunflower)? Have saturated fats (e.g. butter) and food high in saturated fat (e.g. packets of chips, packaged biscuits or cakes) been kept to a minimum? Beverages Have high sugar drinks (i.e. soft drinks, energy drinks) been kept to a minimum? Variety Are all 5 food groups included? Food Preparation Is there lots of variety in the parcel? Have the number of sometimes foods been limited? Have I taken into consideration the cooking facilities, skills and dietary requirements of the community member receiving this parcel? Tick 6. Adapted from Cancer Council NSW Healthier Choices Guidelines for Serving Healthier Foods at Local Council Meetings, Functions and Events. Cancer Council,

5 HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE COMMUNITY FOOD PROGRAM SETTING - PROVIDING HEALTHY MEALS Individuals experiencing disadvantage have an increased risk of chronic disease, they are more likely to be overweight or obese, have heart disease or type 2 diabetes. 1 As a Community Food Program (CFP), you are providing free or subsidised food to Australia s most vulnerable community members. Therefore it is important to provide your community members with the best food possible to improve their physical health. Meals can be provided in many different ways from breakfast programs, to community meals, soup vans to community kitchens. Over 35% of people accessing food relief are consuming meals on site, this highlights the difference your CFP can make to your community members by providing healthy and tasty meals. 2 A healthy diet is made up of the 5 core food groups. Many vulnerable Australians are unable to eat a nutritious and varied diet, therefore where possible, it is important to provide nutritious and balanced meals within your Community Food Program. One meal should provide one-third of the average daily requirements for energy, vitamins and minerals and half the average daily requirements for protein. 3 A balanced meal provides food from different food groups. Check out the table below for the suggested portions required per meal for an adult (based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating Table 1 Breakdown of a Healthy Meal 5 Quantity Food group Examples of a single portion 2 portions Grains (cereals) 1/2 cup of rice or pasta 1 pieces of bread or 1/2 bread roll 1 portion Protein g cooked lean beef, fish or chicken 2 eggs 1 cup of beans/lentils 1 portion Dairy (reduced fat preferred) 250ml milk 30g cheese 200g yoghurt/custard 1 portion Fruit 1 medium size piece of fruit 1 cup fruit salad Seasonal Fruit based dessert ie. apple crumble, peach cobbler 2+ portions Vegetables 1 cup mixed salad 1/2 cup cooked vegetables 1/2 potato 1. Seligman H, Laraia B, Kushel M. Food Insecurity Is Associated with Chronic Disease among Low-Income NHANES Participants. Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140: FoodBank End Hunger Report FoodBank NSW/ACT, Based on the Meals-On-Wheels Food Guide as an example of meal delivery for vulnerable populations - Commonwealth of Australia. Meals-On-Wheels Food Guide. Australian Government Index of Publications (AGIP), National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council, Adapted from Queensland Government. The Food Security Project Standard food parcel. Queensland,

6 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER This is what an example meal should look like for an adult in your CFP. FRUITS OR VEGETABLES LEAN PROTEIN/DAIRY CARBOHYDRATES When designing meals for your CFP, use the checklist below: Table 2 Healthy meals checklist 6 Vegetables Is half of the plate vegetables? (i.e. at least 2 serves) and Fruit Is there a variety of colours? Is fruit available? (fresh, canned, dried or in dessert) Breads and Cereals Meat, Poultry, Fish Dairy Products Fats and Oils Are wholegrain options available such as brown rice or wholegrain pasta for extra nutrients and fibre? At breakfast, are the options high fibre/wholegrain? (e.g. Weetbix, oats, muesli) Have lean cuts of meat, skinless chicken, fish, eggs or legumes been included? Have processed meats (e.g. sausages, salami, bacon, devon, ham, frankfurts) been kept to a minimum? Have dairy foods (milk, cheese, yoghurt) been included in the meal? Has reduced fat dairy been used in place of full fat? Have unsaturated oils and margarines been used (e.g. olive, canola, sunflower)? Have I avoided extra fat? Note: Using some gravies and sauces can add extra fat to an otherwise healthy meal. Beverages Is water the main option for drinks? Variety Are all 5 food groups included? Are there lots of different colours on the plate? Food Preparation Have healthier food preparation methods been used (i.e. steaming, microwaving, stir frying, grilling, oven baked)? Am I using a healthy recipe or can I make it healthier? (refer to Factsheet 2.6 Modifying Recipes) Have appropriate portion sizes for each food group been included? (refer to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating - au) Adapted from Cancer Council NSW Healthier Choices. Guidelines for Serving Healthier Foods at Local Council Meetings, Functions and Events. Cancer Council,

7 HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE COMMUNITY FOOD PROGRAM SETTING - PROVIDING HEALTHY SNACKS Individuals experiencing disadvantage have an increased risk of chronic disease, they are more likely to be overweight or obese, have heart disease or type 2 diabetes 1. Therefore it is important to provide your community members with the best food possible to improve their physical health. As a Community Food Program (CFP), you are providing free or subsidised food to Australia s most vulnerable community members. The following healthy eating tips apply to snacks, food parcels and meals provided within your CFP setting. When providing community members with snacks, the Australian Dietary Guidelines apply; snacks should be based on the 5 core food groups and be low in fat, added sugar and salt (www. eatforhealth.gov.au). 2 When providing community members with snacks, the Australian Dietary Guidelines apply; snacks should be based on the 5 core food groups and be low in fat, added sugar and salt 2. The healthiest snacks are those based on vegetables, fruit, reduced fat dairy and whole grains. Have a look through the snack suggestions on the next page. 1. Seligman H, Laraia B, Kushel M. Food Insecurity Is Associated with Chronic Disease among Low-Income NHANES Participants. Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140: National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council,

8 HEALTHY SNACK TEMS TO INCLUDE Snack suggestions Popcorn unsalted/ unsweetened Homemade fruit based muffins, cakes and slices Cheese slices/cubes Veggie sticks Corn thins/ crisp bread with topping Fresh fruit Nuts Homemade Anzac biscuits Glass of milk Vegetable Frittata Wholemeal english muffins Frozen fruit Hard boiled eggs in their shell Fruity pikelets Tubs of yoghurt/ yoghurt in plastic cups Dip with veggie sticks (eg. hommous) Sandwiches Dried fruit (NB: dried fruit has a high sugar content, so watch the portion sizes, go for 4 apricot halves or 1.5tbsp sultanas) Soup Slice of wholegrain bread with spread Milo Small tins of baked beans Multigrain crackers ie Ryvitas, Sakatas Small tin of fruit in natural juice ITEMS TO INCLUDE OCCASIONALLY Some foods are not essential in our diets and often contain high amounts of fat, sugar and salt. These sometimes foods can offer variety however it is recommended that they do not dominate the menu. Limiting the following items will help your community members to keep healthy and reduce their risk of chronic disease 3 : Cakes, pastries and sweet biscuits high in added sugar and saturated fat, and offer little nutritional value. Soft drinks, energy drinks, cordial and juice very high in added sugar. Water is the best drink to offer and it s free! Store bought pizza, deep fried foods (i.e. hot chips), pies and sausage rolls high in saturated fat and salt, and offer little nutritional value. Lollies, chocolate and other sweet snacks eating sweet treats can replace healthier food items that the body needs. 3. Queensland Government. The Food Security Project Items to include occasionally. Queensland,

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