ON NUTRITION: How to help feed Ukrainians | regain health

Barbara Intermill

I started this column with the intention of celebrating National Nutrition Month, an annual event sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I really like the theme, Let’s Celebrate a World of Flavors, which encourages us to nourish ourselves with a variety of tastes from cultures around the world.

My heart, however, goes out to Ukraine as Ukrainians continue to suffer from the devastation of their homeland. Amidst so much turmoil, the need for basic necessities like food and supplies becomes paramount for these global citizens.

I did some research to find out more about the common rate for Ukrainians. They are best known for borscht, a beetroot soup that is also made with cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onions. One serving of this simple dish is loaded with vital protein, energy-dense carbohydrates, calcium, potassium and other essential nutrients.

And now, unfortunately, I understand where Chicken kyiv got its name. This chicken breast rolled around a herb butter is a famous dish originating from the Ukrainian capital.

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Ukrainian farmers grow a good amount of wheat, barley and corn. It is therefore not surprising that the country is also known for its breads, dumplings and corn dishes.

Very early on, as in other cultures of our world, Ukrainians developed dishes from the foods that were most accessible to them. It highlights the proven fact that while we humans have similar nutritional needs, we can meet those needs with a diverse range of foods and eating styles.

During this time of uncertainty, however, food is more than a meal. It can be both a comfort and a support to face the challenges ahead. I was struck by the work of so many volunteers who are on the front lines feeding and caring for our neighbors around the world. Here are some reliable organizations if you want to associate yourself with their work:

  • American Red Cross (redcross.org) volunteers are providing food, water and other needed supplies to families on the move across Ukraine as well as the millions of people who are now refugees in surrounding countries.
  • heads of mercy (mercychefs.info) serve meals and water to refugees at the border as well as those trapped inside Ukraine.
  • Samaritan’s Purse (samaritanspurse.org) is setting up an emergency field hospital in Ukraine to provide food and life-saving medical care to those caught up in this destruction.
  • European Christian Mission (ecmi-USA.org) has established a Ukrainian Crisis Fund to provide food and basic resources to those trying to survive this emergency.

And let us also remember to nourish ourselves so that we can help others. If you need help, go to eatright.org and click on the tab that says Find a Nutrition Expert. And please continue to pray for our neighbors around the world.

Barbara Intermill is a dietitian. Email her at barbara@quinnessentialnutrition.com.


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