A two-day nutrition and health workshop kicked off to instill healthy eating habits among young people.
The attendees congregated at Diet Studio in COTHM where they learned how to make easy meals that promote good physical and mental health.
Students and the general public were invited to register for the two-day “International Health and
Nutrition Workshop”. COTHM’s Food, Nutrition and Safety Sciences department welcomed Registered Dietitian Dr. Ayesha Iftekhar who shared tips for making healthy meals.
“It’s a really important time for young people to lay the groundwork for healthy eating patterns for the rest of their lives,” said Ayesha.
The first day was kicked off by introducing the topic of healthy eating. Pupils from all age groups were eager to put up their hands to ask the questions!
During the workshop, Dr. Ayesha offered simple strategies to prepare balanced meals and snacks with more fruits and vegetables. On the second day, she demonstrated how to make a quick, easy, and healthy lunch.
Most importantly, she wanted students to enjoy the food. She believes that if people eat more healthy food, they’ll start to crave more healthy food. “That becomes the joy. You realize that you feel better, you feel healthier and more energetic. That feeds into the whole cycle of ‘food brings me joy.’”
Post-secondary school is a time when most students are going through a tremendous amount of change. Some have left their homes. Many are taking care of themselves for the first time in their lives. The workload and many unknowns about the future can be burdens. A lot of students are vulnerable to stress and anxiety.
Diet affects both our body and our minds, said Ms Mariyum Ali, Head of Department. What we are eating can, “either stimulate our anxiety, or it can help calm it.” Students who start the day with a coffee and a bagel are not going to get the nutrition they need to not only feel good but to also focus on their day-to-day tasks, she said. “That can really lead to some physical and mental issues.”
Cost is a factor Mariyum took into consideration while planning this workshop. If attendees on a limited budget cannot afford these meals, they obviously won’t eat them. As well, she understands young people are less likely to eat food they don’t like.
According to her, there’s an extreme to eating healthy that can become obsessive and harmful, and she wants to avoid that. “It has to be enjoyable too.”