C-Action: Healthy Cooking for a cause

The Cause

C-Action is a family based preventive program that will encourage parents and kids (aged 6-12) to come together to learn about healthy eating, cooking skills and creating recipes that the whole family can enjoy. Participants become advocates for healthy eating.

Poor eating behaviors that begin in the early years of childhood may continue into adulthood, creating negative health concerns such as obesity and other diseases. Teaching kids about healthy eating and how to cook has become an important part of parenting for kids’ healthy development.

The Calgary Chinese Community Service Association has a strong focus on positive children and youth development, it envisions that future generations have opportunities for healthy growth. This C-Action Project is to encourage healthy eating among kids while getting parents involved. Research has shown that parent's involvement has a significant influence on the health and health behaviors of children, it can protect young people from harmful stressors and can buffer negative influences. Families that provide structure and have positive communication can impact young people's levels of attachment, security, and perceived well-being and they tend to be healthier. In this program, kids not only learn about important knowledge and skills such as reading labels, doing measurements, healthy eating habits…etc. which they can use for the rest of their lives, they also enjoy the process together with their family members to foster positive family relationships.

In this C-Action project, 5 groups each with 8-10 sessions will be run in a community kitchen. Each group caters to 10-15 participants. Kids together with parents will prepare a balanced, healthy meal while a facilitator will teach them about nutrition, healthy eating, good parent-child communication, problem-solving skills and appreciation of one another.

As participants learn about healthy cooking, they will also come together before Christmas time to plan some healthy snacks that will be given out to low income families and to those who are facing difficulties in their life. This will take the form of a gift box is called ‘C-box’, 'C' is a short form of ‘Caring’ and the box will be delivered to the needy during Christmas time. Approximately, 100 individuals will benefit from the C-box.

Who Will it Benefit?

The target for this C-Action Project is children aged 6-12 and we would like to teach them healthy eating when they are still young. According to Statistics Canada 2013, roughly one in five youths aged 12-17 was overweight or obese. Unfortunately, many adolescents do not outgrow this problem and many continue to gain excess weight. Unhealthy weights can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes and type 2 diabetes. The direct and indirect cost related to obesity can add up to billions, even worse, it can lead to life loss. We know that the increase in processed foods, super-sweetened soda and other beverages, and a colossal increase in portion sizes have contributed to the surge in obesity. Feeding our children nutritious meals and teaching them that eating vegetables, fruits and whole grains and being physically active can help prevent many diseases. In this project, we are engaging approximately 100 kids and their parents who will be the direct beneficiary. By participating in the groups, they will be encouraged to share their skills and knowledge with their classmates, friend and relatives, and influence more people.

In addition to that, these families will also make use of the newly acquired knowledge and skills to prepare food for 100 needy families who will also benefit from this act of kindness. In total, 200 individuals will benefit from this program.