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Greater Vancouver Food Bank putting focus on nutritious menus 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver



The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society is breaking away from its soup kitchen origins to encourage clients to cook more wholesome meals.

For example, at the North Shore food bank fresh fruit, natural peanut butter, whole wheat crackers and homogenized milk are now being put into bags for children six and under.

Food bank spokeswoman Kay Thody said the move breaks away from the tradition of more packaged meals, such as juice boxes, sugary cereals and preserved fruit cups.

“We’ve made a decision on putting a greater emphasis on longer-term solutions rather than emergency food,” she said.

Vancouver Coastal Health has examined its existing offerings and made changes. According to VCH public health dietitian Barbara Crocker, the recommendations have led to the food bank breaking baby bags into two types — one for infants and another for toddlers.

Crocker said that’s because items such as formula are no longer relevant to children 12 months and older — they would be better suited to high-protein “finger foods” such as tofu, eggs or even pieces of toast.

The food banks intend to roll out the offerings to its 14 other “hubs” throughout the Lower Mainland in the next year.

Research is being done on what adult foods can be changed. The food banks are educating on nutritional guidelines, and offering recipe suggestions and packages of fresh foods containing the needed ingredients.

“We’ll say, ‘Here’s a cabbage and in this week’s distribution, here’s two simple recipes, three of five ingredients are in the bag.’” Thody said.

Food bank sign-ups can be arranged by calling 604-876-3601.


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