Library lunch club unites locals in Carlton

4 April 2023

Join our Local Lunch Club to boost your wellbeing, learn healthy recipes and meet new friends at Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre in Carlton. 

We’re hosting a series of events and workshops to shine a light on nutrition, food security and social isolation. 

The events will include seasonal Local Lunch Clubs, where surplus food will be used to create free community lunches, and cooking classes run by Jane Duyker, a dietitian from cohealth. 

“Providing a place for people to gather and share a meal helps foster a sense of community and belonging. We know these things are really important for physical and mental health,” Jane said. 

“Participants can expect a collaborative, social, and judgement-free experience from my classes. People can take part in cooking or learn by watching others. 

“The sessions might particularly interest those who are looking to learn recipes or cooking techniques that need only minimal kitchen facilities and appliances.” 

For Jane, being a community dietitian is rewarding because it gives her the opportunity to make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people who may face barriers to accessing health care.  

“I love empowering people to make healthy and sustainable changes,” Jane said. 

“I also love the variety that my work offers such as interacting and connecting with a diverse range of people and communities, who I also learn so much from.” 

The program of events includes cooking and gardening workshops

Jane’s six top tips for healthy cooking at home 

Describing herself as a “non-diet dietitian”, Jane believes in the importance of finding balance and pleasure in food, while also nourishing the body. Some of her top healthy cooking tips include: 

  1. Incorporate a variety of whole foods into your meals such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, lean meats and proteins, and dairy foods.  
  1. Aim to include a variety of different-coloured fruits and vegetables in your meals. This can help provide an array of different vitamins and minerals.  
  1. Cook with healthy fats and oils such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish.  
  1. Experiment with plant-based proteins like beans, lentils and tofu. These can be a healthy and cost-effective way to vary your protein intake.  
  1. Experiment with different herbs and spices to add flavour and flair to your meals without adding extra salt.  
  1. Cook with others. This can be a social activity and make the experience more enjoyable. It’s also a great way to share new recipes and cooking tips. 

To view all upcoming Local Lunch Club and associated events – delivered with community partners Open Table, Cultivating Community and Collective Being – visit Eat well, live together

These events are supported by a Libraries for Health and Wellbeing Grant, provided by the Victorian Government through State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria. 

To learn more about the City of Melbourne’s commitment to food security, view our Food Relief Plan 2021–25

Musicians entertain participants at a Local Lunch Club event

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