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BACKGROUNDER: Culturally Appropriate Foods for Meal Programs and Food Banks

Two of the most common faith based food regulated processes are Kosher (Jewish) and Halal (Muslim). While the parameters of each can be nuanced with the level of faith kept by the people, here are a couple of videos that explain the basics. If you have clients that follow these eating parameters, have a chat with them to better understand what food supports they could use.

The Kashruth Council of Canada has more information on their website for Kosher specific foods MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON KOSHER FOODS

Halal video - UNDERSTANDING HALAL

Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of Canada (IFNCC) has more information on their website for Halal specific food: HALAL CERTIFICATION CANADA

Veganism is another food related choice that can affect Food Programs when households request such support. As with Faith based food choices, it is up to the household to determine where their “line” is in terms of what is an animal product. Many Vegans also look to a broader environmental impact of their food choices as well. If a product is not ‘certified’ vegan looking for other words such as meatless, egg-free, dairy-free, no animal testing, 100% plant-based, 100% plant-based grilling, no GMOs with animal genes, etc. can help identify Vegan products.

As someone with food allergies (dairy and a few others), this labelling can be helpful. I know a product labelled “vegan” will have no dairy in it, the same with Kosher or Halal hot dogs.

“Fish on Fridays” in the Christian Faith came from complex interactions of the Catholic Faith and the merging Anglican Faith under Henry the VIII and a drop in fish sales, concern from the fish industry and the brief reign of Edward VI. It can be noted that McDonalds purposely created the Filet-O-Fish burger to cope with the drop in hamburger sales on Fridays due to the focus on fish for supper.

Understanding your client’s food preferences can greatly support their nutrition. The influx of Newcomers to Bruce Grey has resulted in greater selection and varieties of foods found outside the traditional North American diet.

(This post was written and researched by Francesca Dobbyn)


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