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Video cookbook will encourage healthy eating for people with intellectual disabilities

Sky MacLeod, front left, and Rolanda Bridges look over focus group materials with Lynn Taylor, back left, life enrichment supervisor, Tremploy Inc., Greg McKenna, research consultant at Holland College, and Julie Smith, executive director the P.E.I. Association for Community Living.
Sky MacLeod, front left, and Rolanda Bridges look over focus group materials with Lynn Taylor, back left, life enrichment supervisor, Tremploy Inc., Greg McKenna, research consultant at Holland College, and Julie Smith, executive director the P.E.I. Association for Community Living. - Contributed

An online video cookbook is being developed to encourage individuals with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities to prepare healthy, balanced, and cost-effective meals.

The video cookbook is being developed by Holland College’s Applied Research Department. Primarily funded by the P.E.I. Department of Health and Wellness through the Wellness Grant Program, additional financial support has been provided by Sobeys.

The project is being led by Greg McKenna, a research consultant at Holland College. He said the support of numerous in-kind partners, including the P.E.I. Association for Community Living (ACL), Tremploy Inc., and Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, will ensure that the cookbook provides relevant, appropriate information.
“The combined knowledge and experience contributed to this project by the partners will result in a highly functional tool that will reinforce independent living skills,” he said.

Julie Smith, executive director of P.E.I. ACL, enthusiastically embraced the project.

“Projects and partnerships of this sort are key to enhancing the lives of individuals who have intellectual disabilities,” she said.

The project, which is in its initial stages, will engage people with intellectual disabilities in the process by having them involved in all stages of the development of the cookbook, from identifying food interests, taste testing, piloting food purchases, and, ultimately, participating in food preparation based upon the recipes that are developed.

Joel Dennis, executive director of Tremploy Inc., sees the participatory focus of the cookbook as key to the development of a cookbook that people with intellectual disabilities will use.

“Active participation of the end users throughout this project is one of the features that ensures success of the final product,” he explained.

The video cookbook, which has also received funding from the Holland College President’s Innovation Fund, will consist of five to seven recipes developed by food product developers at Canada’s Smartest Kitchen to ensure palatability, cost effectiveness and nutritional value. The online video cookbook is expected to be available in the spring of 2019.

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