Blog: Refugees and nutrition

Catherine Sleep | 1 August 2006

When refugees arrive in the US, one of the many ways in which their lives are turned upside down concerns food. They often cannot find the same foods they are used to cooking in their home countries, and are unfamiliar with the nutritional strengths and weaknesses of many foodstuffs they see in the stores and markets where they shop.

Some refugees arrive from countries where food was such a precious commodity that they are inclined to horde it. Others struggle to find food that meets their religious requirements, or quickly develop an unhealthy obsession with food such as fizzy drinks or crisps that were previously unknown to them.

So while at first glance it might seem unnecessary or even patronising, there’s a real need for workshops to teach refugees how to eat American food responsibly, such as those coordinated by non-profit refugee resettlement agency Heartland.

And perhaps when they’ve finished initiating refugees into the rudiments of good nutrition, they can move on to the rest of the population.

Refugees taught how to eat American food


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