By Carlie Sanderson
For the Lacombe Express
Moms across Central Alberta will be given an opportunity to learn about various nutritional needs through three free courses offered by Alberta Health Services (AHS).
The courses will be offered virtually throughout the summer by the central health zone’s public dietitians.
“We know there is so much to learn and consider when feeding infants and young children and we also know that the prenatal and early years are a really important period of a child’s development,” said Elizabeth Fraser, population and public health dietician with AHS.
She said that although there is a lot of information online, it can be difficult to navigate fact from fiction and how to apply healthy eating into daily life.
“By attending these classes it’s a chance for Albertans to speak with a registered dietician, help to de-clutter all of the information that’s out there and also learn some practical tips and ideas for feeding your family.”
All courses will be offered virtually through Zoom.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic we did move to offering our classes online,” said Fraser, adding that they have received a lot of positive feedback from moms, as the classes are more convenient for them to take in.
The courses include Growing Your Baby: What to Eat During Pregnancy, Infant Nutrition and Goodbye Mealtime Struggles.
The Growing Your Baby course is fairly new, having been around since 2021, and will take place July 12 at 12 p.m. The course will go over meals and snacks that provide nutrients during pregnancy, choosing a multivitamin supplement, food safety and more.
The Infant Nutrition course will take place July 13, July 27 and Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. and will go over foods to start kids on, food allergies, baby-led weaning and more. This course has been offered for many years.
The Goodbye Mealtime Struggles course has also been offered for years and will take place July 20th at 6 p.m. and Aug. 18th at 1 p.m. The course will explore the various reasons behind mealtime struggles and strategies to make mealtimes happy times.
Fraser said enrollment has been relatively stable since moving virtual in 2020.
“Since moving online we have been able to eliminate class cancellations, which has enhanced more timely access to those living in more rural areas where enrolment yields lower numbers.”
Fraser said the increase in food is definitely a stress they hear about from moms and so, the courses will help moms learn about low cost meal and snack ideas using simple ingredients, along with how they can prepare food at home using the tools in their own kitchen.
Those interested in signing up for the courses can do so by visiting www.eventbrite.ca and searching by class name and location. This is something new AHS has done, as parents and caregivers used to have to wait and register for classes during business hours at community health centres. Now they can sign up any time of the day or week. People can also register by calling 403-356-6387.
Participants will receive a link for Zoom two days before their course and 30 minutes before. They will also be emailed handouts on the information that will be discussed 30 minutes before their course.