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Food and Nutrition

Food features prominently in the rituals of almost all religions. Eating is one of the most fundamental and sacred things that we do. Below are resources to help people of faith explore how to eat well, both as individuals and as communities. This includes healthy eating behaviors, but also ways to increase access to good food in communities and to support a healthy environment.

Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table

Advocate Health Care, along with Church World Service and the Presbyterian Hunger Program, developed a curriculum for Christian congregations that explores eating as a practice of faith. The curriculum explores topics such as Food Sharing as Sacramental, Nurturing Our Bodies with Food, Hunger, Food and the Environment, and Creating Community with Food.

Body and Soul Toolkit

This kit contains step-by-step instructions on how to plan, set up, manage and market a fruit and vegetable mini-market in your faith-based organization or community.

Faithful Families: Eat Smart Move More Resources

The Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More Program (Faithful Families) promotes healthy eating and physical activity in communities of faith. Resources for the program include a 9-session Faithful Families curriculum and the Eating Smart and Moving More Planning Guide for Faith Communities. Everything you need to implement the program is included.

Food Sovereignty for All Handbook

This 25-page handbook outlines how to start and maintain community gardens, community kitchens, buying clubs, farm stands and other projects harnessing faith community resources. It offers tips for project success and effective collaboration with low-income populations.

Food for Thought: A Joint Project of the Union for Reform Judaism and Hazan

A curriculum on eating from the Jewish perspective that explores themes of:

  • Gratitude, Mindfulness and Blessing Our Food
  • Food and Ethics:  The Implications of Our Food Choices
  • Today’s Golden Calf: How Much Red Meat is Enough?

Download a copy of the curriculum.

Diet for a Hot Planet–Faith-Based Study Guide

This study guide helps people of faith connect their faith practices and the teachings of their religious traditions to the ideas shared by Anna Lappé in her new book, Diet for a Hot Planet.  Beyond what we already know about “food miles” and eating locally, the global food system is a major contributor to climate change, producing as much as one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. How we farm, what we eat, and how our food gets to the table all have an impact.

Anna Lappé predicts that unless we radically shift the trends of what food we’re eating and how we’re producing it, food system-related greenhouse gas emissions will go up and up and up. She exposes the interests that will resist the change, and the spin food companies will generate to avoid system-wide reform. And she offers a vision of a future in which our food system does more good than harm, with six principles for a climate friendly diet. Find the Study Guide and other resources around faith, food and the environment.

Let’s Glean! United We Serve Tool Kit

A key component of the United We Serve:Let’s Read. Let’s Move initiative is using service to increase access to healthy and affordable food for youth. This summer, farmers, gardeners, market managers, and volunteers can expand their impact by connecting with United We Serve and utilizing the Let’s Glean! Toolkit (PDF).

What is Gleaning? Gleaning is the act of collecting excess fresh food from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants, state/county fairs or other source and donating it to those in need.

5 Reasons to Glean:

  1. Each year, well over 100 billion pounds of food are thrown away in this country. Up to 1/5 of America’s entire food supply goes to waste.
  2. Currently there are 49 million Americans, including more than 16 million children, who are hungry or at risk of going hungry.
  3. 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural areas that are considered “food deserts,” where access to affordable, quality, and nutritious foods is greatly limited.
  4. The majority of non-profits who serve food to those in need have been seriously strained by the economic downturn.
  5. Consumers often do not have a relationship with the producers who grow their food and vice versa.

Check out the Let’s Glean! Toolkit and start gleaning today!

Ismaili Nutrition Center

The Nutrition Centre is a resource for anyone who enjoys traditional foods of African, Central and South Asian, and Middle Eastern origin. It features a library of recipes annotated with nutritional information and healthy eating tips, as well as Eating for Health.

The site draws on the findings of the South Asian Food Survey as the primary source for its nutritional data. The survey is a research project that investigated the nutrient content of foods commonly consumed by various South Asian groups living in the United Kingdom. Since its publication in 2000, this data has been available to health professionals but has not been widely accessible to the general public. The Nutrition Centre bridges this gap.  The Nutrition Centre allows traditional recipes to be evaluated against dietary guidelines. Being aware of the healthy and less healthy aspects of your own diet is the first step towards making better choices.

A joint project of Advocate Health Care & the OCEAN-HP at the University of Illinois at Chicago.