Did you know that people who are unable to afford healthy foods to put on the table are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
The chronic stress of food insecurity and poverty releases a stress hormone (cortisol) that further increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Once a person living in poverty has diabetes, it is difficult to get back to being healthy again, because healthy food is a key part of diabetes treatment and is also more costly.
Some foods that are recommended to manage diabetes are fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and less processed, and these food are not within the budget reach of people living with food insecurity.
Beyond food, poverty also reduces access to physical activity programs, safe walkable neighbourhoods, and necessary medications, all needed to create better health for those living with diabetes.
The choices you make often depend on the choices you have and healthy food is expensive.
The Ottawa Food Bank recognizes the importance of healthy food:
- Each year we set new targets for the amount of healthy food we distribute – this year, 47% of the food distributed was fresh
- 100% of the food we provide through our two children’s programs, the Summer Lunch Program and our After4 Program is fresh and healthy and dietitian-approved. We believe in working preventatively to help support healthy eating patterns early.
- We harvested 122,000lbs of food this year from the local Ottawa Food Bank farm. We believe in the health building potential of the foods we provide and aim to provide as much fresh vegetables and fruit as we are able. Our farm helps us do this.
- This year our dietitian created Nutrition Guidelines to improve the quality of the food we distribute and to keep us accountable year over year.
- The Ottawa Food Bank has been distributing grants to our partner agencies to increase their cold storage capacity so they can provide more fresh and healthy foods to their clients.
Below are tasty recipes!
Kindly note that soup recipes are not like baking recipes where the exact quantities are more critical to the end product. Experiment a little with soups, if you don’t have an ingredient that is okay, if you want to substitute an ingredient, try it. With spices and herbs, you can really make the soup your own by playing around with those. The one ingredient that is a must in all soup recipes in my house is onion followed closely by garlic. Beyond those, be the boss of your own soup.
We love the nutritious punch of this soup. It has loads of plant vitamin A (beta-carotene) which is what gives it the rich orange colour. It also has lots of fibre, potassium, calcium and magnesium. These nutrients are great for supporting immune health, heart health and like all vegetables and fruits, helps keep your body healthy generally.
- 1 tablespoon oil (olive/canola/sunflower) or any on hand
- I onion finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic – minced
- 2-3 stalks celery – optional
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash
- 3 cups water OR 3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- Herbs and spices (1-2 tsp dried herbs such as thyme/sage/oregano) or 1-3 teaspoons cumin/garam masala/curry powder
- A little table salt and pepper to taste
- (1/2-1 can coconut milk – optional)
- Peel and core the butternut squash. Nobody’s favourite job, so good to get done at the beginning. Remove the top and tail of the squash. Peel the squash with a peeler, cut it down the centre and remove the seeds. Cut and chop it into cubes. If you don’t have a peeler, top and tail the butternut squash, slice it into 3 rings and with the cut side on the cutting board, slice off the skin with a vegetable knife. Set aside
- Heat the oil in a pan, add onion, celery if using and your herbs and/or spices. After a couple of minutes add the garlic. Stir until the onion is translucent. About 3-5 minutes.
- Add the chopped butternut squash, 3 cups of water or broth, and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat and let it gently simmer until the squash is tender – about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Blend the soup using a hand blender or with a potato masher.
- Freeze any leftovers for another cold day.
Resources at your disposal:
Unlockfood is created by dietitians.
Check out the healthy diabetes recipe booklets available for Caribbean, Chinese, South Asian and Latin American cuisines.
Enjoy our recipes below with the whole family. Diabetes-friendly recipes are generally heart-healthy, gut-friendly and support general good health and they can be enjoyed by anyone.
Diabetes Canada has a number of resources from wellness tips, recipes and contact information for your local office that offers regional support.