Food for Thought Workshop in Ottawa

This year, the Ottawa team organized a “Food for Thought” workshop for hosts, after a survey showed that this was a topic that hosts wanted more information about.  The aim of the educational session was to discuss strategies and solutions for common issues surrounding food and hosting – the key takeaway being a deeper understanding of differing diets, cultural foods, and meal-time etiquette.  Together, we discussed solutions on how to control portions without restricting food, communication strategies, and turning meal time prep into a way to build a relationship with one another and create a shared experience.   Here is a list of solutions that were brainstormed at the workshop:

Picky eaters: What works?

  •  Involving the student in cooking so they feel a sense of ownership and are more likely to try the food prepared
  •  Asking students to bring cookbooks from home
  • Reminding students homestay is an opportunity to grow and to try new things— try it once and if you don’t like it, that’s ok
  • Keep something “familiar” on hand such as rice in the rice cooker so students can help themselves throughout the day

Establishing Food Boundaries

  • Bins for snacks- explain clearly when the bin is empty, they supply their own until next grocery run
  • Setting stage fro proper portions by serving plate instead of serve yourself.
  • Communication is key. Communicate when you have plans for leftovers- ie: “Sally will eat dinner afterward, please save a piece of chicken for her”
  • Give options: ie. “You can have a second helping or you can save the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. If you have seconds, there are sandwich supplies for your lunch tomorrow”.
  • Use filling but well-balanced meals- rice, pasta, protein like legumes
  • Pre-portion lunch leftovers and leftover plates as well

 Money Saving Tips:

  •  Flyers and apps (checkout 51, Flipp, reebee, price matching)
  • Soups, stews, an prepared freezer meals
  • Seasonal eating
  • Bulk buy