LINC in the Kitchen with U of C Nurses

The LINC program has been incredibly lucky to form a partnership with the U of C nurses who are doing their practicum at the Saddletowne YMCA this semester. The nurses have planned some fantastic activities to engage the students and promote a more healthy lifestyle for newcomers to Canada.

The student nurses recently facilitated a three-part activity that raised awareness about preventing hypertension, which was identified as a primary health concern among newcomers in the North East in a recent community assessment. First, the nurses visited the LINC class for a pot-luck lunch; the students and nurses enjoyed meeting each other, sharing a meal, and introducing favourite foods from their home countries. The following day, the nurses gave a hypertension presentation. The LINC students loved spending time with the nurses, and raised some great questions about how to take more responsibility for their health in Canada.

Armed with their new knowledge about preventing hypertension by lowering the sodium and sugar in their recipes, the LINC students picked a few recipes from the pot-luck and worked in groups to modify them. The final menu consisted of healthier versions of the Russian Salad, Red Pepper Omelet, Chapli Kababs, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake that had made their first appearance at the pot-luck.

Once the recipes were finalized, the class worked in groups to shop for ingredients at Co-op, making sure to read the labels for the sugar and sodium content. Finally, for the grand finale, LINC students and the nurses donned their aprons and cooked up a storm together in the Genesis Centre kitchen! The results were amazing and delicious!!

The hands-on learning facilitated by the nurses was informative and fun. It provided practical knowledge for the LINC students that will positively impact the health of their families. Throughout the project, the nurses developed an understanding of the LINC program and made sure to incorporate plenty of listening, speaking, reading and writing into their activities! Along with improved communication skills and health, the positive relationships built between the nurses and students has added benefits; this time spent together helps newcomers feel more confident communicating in English when they visit the clinic or pharmacy with their families.

Here are some of the students’ experiences in their own words:

Today I learned to use healthy sugar, its name coconut sugar. I’d like to eat every food healthy because good for me, like Russian Salad. It was a fun day and healthy day!  – Wesam, Egypt

You explained how to cut down salt and sugar. It was a good challenge for me to change my recipe and cook it. I learnt many things, like read ingredients before buying anything. – Malhi, India

It is a very good way to teach newcomers how they can make healthy food. Because many newcomers don’t know healthy oils, sugar, and healthy flour. My in-law family is living in Canada for 35 years. They know which are healthy things. But I don’t know because I have been here for 8 months. I really enjoyed my time with you and it will be helpful for me in the future.  – Charanjeet, India

It is my first experience working with friendly and nice people like you. I feel really grateful to you for the healthy advice. I have a sweet teeth and like salt too, but now I know salt and sugar are not my friends.  – Cristina, El Salvador

Thank you, Nurses!