Eating seems so simple: ideally, you should eat a balanced diet with a wide range of nutrients to support your body with the right energy. However, so many factors can get in the way of this seemingly straight-forward process. More and more people struggle with eating unhealthy foods on a regular basis. Whether this is due to a lack of access or education, such struggles can affect the community at large. Learn how you can help build up your community through a seemingly simple notion: healthy food.
Sharing Food With Others Who Lack Access
One of the biggest missions of Brixton People’s Kitchen (BPK) is to share food with others who otherwise lack access to resources to meet their basic nutrition needs. Sadly, despite the fact that food is more prevalent on the everyday market now more than ever, so many people are unable to reach these sources. The fight for basic survival can also kick in: desperate for food, many might only have access to high-fat, high-sodium foods (think fast food or packaged foods), which contain little to no real nutrition. Eating such foods not only increases the risk for chronic illnesses, but it is also especially problematic for children who need good nutrition for proper growth.
Reaching out to at-risk groups is essential. You can offer to share a nutritious meal with someone you know who is less fortunate, or you can donate healthy foods to a reputable charity. Rather than donating only packaged goods, you might consider donating healthier foods instead. Also, rather than wasting perishable foods, consider donating any fresh fruits and vegetables you don’t need. If you buy these foods in bulk to save money but can never get through them all, give away half of it to those in need—you will also reduce waste.
Nutrition and Food Preparation Education
Overall good health is dependent on good nutrition. The community at large might already understand the importance of eating healthy, but many do not know exactly what this entails. By demonstrating what a healthy meal looks like, members in your community are more likely to adopt these behaviors. Furthermore, showing how to exactly prepare foods can make a huge difference—discuss how easy it is to prepare meals from scratch, and emphasize how whole foods keep you more energized and full for longer.
Fighting Against Eating Disorders
When it comes to basic food needs, eating disorders are often neglected. The truth is that just because someone cannot afford nutritious meals on a regular basis, this does not mean that they can’t possibly suffer from an eating disorder. These cognitive-based disorders can stem from culture, socioeconomic status, and family history. Eventually, negative thinking will impact the way one behaves towards food. On one extreme, some avoid food; on the opposite side of the spectrum, one binges on food.
Spreading the word about healthy food can impact eating disorders in a positive light, much in the same way as nutrition education. Demonstrating healthy eating in a group setting can help patients battling eating disorders feel less alone. Since these diseases are often isolating, bringing a community of healthy eating to such patients can help them feel like a part of a supportive group that wants to help.
How You Can Help
Volunteers are always welcome at BPK. Whether you can donate your time or nutritious foods, every resource is appreciated. Yet the concepts of building a community through healthy food can certainly extend beyond the organization. A community is certainly not built overnight, nor are healthy eating habits. By taking one step at a time and reaching out to others, you can make strides towards the right direction.
Family meals. (2014, September). Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/family_meals.html
Healthy habits for healthy families. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/healthy.aspx
The Psychology of Eating. (2012). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/getting_fit/hic_Maintaining_a_Healthy_Weight/hic_The_Psychology_of_Eating
Author Bio: Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer whose work has been published on numerous health-related websites. Previously, she worked as a communications and marketing professional. Kristeen holds a BA in Communication and an MA in English. When she’s not writing or researching, she enjoys walking, kick-boxing, yoga, and traveling.