Eating well is an essential ingredient to good mental and physical health, but it can be challenging to some people living with disability. Like many Australians, some are unsure about what constitutes a nutritious meal while others may simply lack confidence in the kitchen.
Poor eating habits can lead to weight management issues and serious health problems such as diabetes and heart conditions, but it can also lead to people feeling sluggish, unmotivated and unhappy.
Melba Support Services recognise that meal preparation is a much-needed skill amongst some people supported, and this year some innovative thinking led to a unique collaboration with Victoria University. Melba teamed up with Victoria University to enable residents from Mount Evelyn to undertake a course in healthy nutrition. Accompanied by staff, attendees visited Victoria’s Werribee campus where they were taught healthy eating choices. They then cooked a dish in the kitchen classroom and sat down to enjoy it together.
In addition to teaching the people supported how to create nutritious meals, the Cooking and Healthy Eating and Wellness (CHEW) program provided students with the opportunity to gain real-life community health experience. Program coordinator Monica Wellington said the workshops aim to address health quality in disadvantaged groups, showing people how food can influence health while providing young students with invaluable experience.
“From the students’ perspective it's a really nice way for them to practise what they've been learning about and put it into delivery,” she said. Ms. Wellington added for people supported who normally don’t have the opportunity to participate in this kind of health promotion program, it fills gaps and allows them to build up food and nutrition literacy.
She said, “It’s also a lot of fun. We want to make the activities as engaging as we can and that's the best way for people to take on board new information.” So successful was the program that Melba is now looking at running a similar one at our Able Bakehouse in Lilydale. The flexibility and creative thinking of Melba staff led to a fun and effective solution to help address a serious problem.
Meet the caring team from Melba Support Services at the Melbourne Disability Connection Expo on the 21st and 22nd April at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Don’t forget to register for the Expo and save the date!