Food & Nutrition Overview

 
 
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“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.” Heather Morgan, MS, NLC

This course examines the relationships between food, energy balance, and nutritional status; the nutritional needs of individuals at different stages of life; and the role of nutrition in health and disease. Students will evaluate nutrition-related trends and will determine how food choices can promote food security and environmental responsibility. Students will learn about healthy eating, expand their repertoire of food-preparation techniques, and develop their social science research skills by investigating issues related to nutrition and health.

 
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Health of Self and Others

This unit will cover the psychological, emotional, cultural, and economic factors that influence our food choices. Students will also explore what may influence a person to follow a vegetarian or alternative diet, including media influence. In the second part of this unit, students will critique Canada's Food Guide, looking at when it was first introduced, the purpose of following a food guide, adjustments that have been made to the guide, and other dietary guides that are followed in addition to Canada's Food Guide. Students will also learn about dietary reference intakes and the components of a nutritious diet. In the third and final module of this unit, they will learn about nutrition through the lifespan and the specific dietary needs associated with infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults.

 
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Nutrition and Health

The focus of this unit is nutrition and health. First, students will explore different macronutrients including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fibre, sugar, water as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. For each nutrient, students will learn what the nutrient is, food products that contain this nutrient, the process of digestion and absorption and the role of the nutrient in the body. They will examine their own eating and drinking habits by completing a three-day diet log and analysing the results. Second, they will explore the concept of energy balance, including ideal caloric consumption and the role of exercise in a healthy lifestyle. Finally, the relationship between nutrition and disease is analysed including the determinants of health, causes of disease and how nutritional needs change during times of illness.

 
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Food Patterns & Trends

In this unit, students examine various trends and patterns in food and nutrition. They will learn about some of the new food products on supermarket shelves and emerging eating patterns or diet trends. Increasingly, food products and trends are heavily marketed for their health benefits and they will research whether these benefits are real or perceived and evaluate the potential benefits or dangers of eating a certain food product or following a specific diet. In the second half of the unit, students focus on preparing and cooking food at home. First and foremost students will learn about the importance of kitchen and food safety including proper techniques for using kitchen tools and appliances but also safe methods for handling and storing food to prevent foodborne illnesses. They will have the opportunity to put their knowledge of kitchen and food safety to the test in the final module of this unit that focuses on preparing food. They will learn about the steps to follow when cooking food, how to modify recipes and selecting appropriate cooking tools and cooking methods. At the end of this unit, students will prepare their favourite meal showcasing safe and proper food preparation techniques.

 
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Local & Global Issues

In this unit, students will explore the role that economic, political, and environmental factors have on the production of food. They will look closely at Canadian agriculture including various agricultural methods, meat and poultry farming, the dairy industry, and horticulture. World hunger and food insecurity will be the focus in the second half of the unit and students will explore the reasons why food security issues arise, the nutrient deficiencies that result from malnourishment, and what is or can be done to combat hunger. Finally, they will delve into the preparation, cooking, serving, and eating techniques of culture specific foods. On the international scale, students will assess the various political and economic causes of world hunger. The various factors that affect the production and supply of food are explored in the second module, including an analysis of the global water supply, agricultural methods and the increasing use of biotechnologies in food production. Finally, the environmental impact of food production will be considered. Environmental protection laws and policies exist but are they adequate for preventing environmental degradation? An important theme throughout the unit is the power of consumer choices and steps that can be taken to reduce food insecurity in at the local and global level.