March is Nutrition Month across Canada. This year the theme of Nutrition Month focuses on how registered dietitians help promote health and wellness in the workplace and throughout their communities. For over 40 years, the registered dietitians at BC Dairy Association have been developing nutrition education materials for teachers and health professionals across BC.
Nutrition education based on Canada’s Food Guide has been an important part of BC Dairy Association’s mandate for decades. The association currently has four registered dietitians on staff who work to develop and deliver nutrition education programs to teachers and health professionals and develop resources for community groups and the public.
All of the programs offered by BC Dairy Association are based on sound educational design, and scientific research. They also encourage the use of local food when possible.
“I am honored to get to work for dairy farmers every day as a health professional. Their support for in-school nutrition education programs and resources for health professionals makes a huge impact on the health of our communities,” says Joel Barohn, registered dietitian and nutrition educator at BC Dairy Association.
In honour of Nutrition Month, we’re highlighting some of the programs and resources offered by BC Dairy Association to help British Columbians eat well.
Since the 1970s, a staff of registered dietitians at the association has offered in-person nutrition education programs for teachers across BC, giving them tools for the classroom and helping teach about healthy eating and food. They have built up an extensive catalogue of workshops, lesson plans, and materials.
They started offering remote Zoom workshops to teachers in 2019, but had to extensively rework the content to focus on home-based learning once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. BC Dairy Association also offers lesson plans and other materials on numerous nutrition and food topics, which have been available for download online for several years. The association saw a significant increase in downloads of the material in 2020 as teachers sought out resources for helping their students learn in a new environment.
“The Food Explorers program was one of the highlights of the year for many students. They shared recipes and feedback with their families. Parents also commented on what a great program it is for young children. They thanked me for exposing their children to a variety of foods and making learning about foods so enjoyable,” says Yong, a Grade 1 teacher from Vancouver, BC.
Right now, teachers everywhere in BC can participate in a free virtual workshop to get colourful materials and great ideas for making nutrition come alive in their classrooms. And yes, food learning programs can still continue under current COVID-19 school guidelines! Any teachers interested in learning more or signing up for a workshop online can visit https://workshops.nutritioneducationbc.ca/virtual-workshops/.
Beyond schools, BC Dairy’s registered dietitians have developed many tools to help British Columbians eat more nutritious meals. Try the Calcium Calculator or check out bettertogetherbc.ca for ideas and recipes to support British Columbians in eating together more often.