Katherine is the first Arrell Scholar to be working within the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition in the College of Social and Applied Health Sciences. She will be working toward a PhD with Dr. Jess Haines where her research aim is to develop and test strategies that promote the consumption of plant-based foods among Canadian families with young children through the Guelph Family Health Study.
Research Interests and Future Goals
In 2019, two notable reports were published discussing the needs for Canadians to reduce their reliance on animal-based foods and shift towards more plant-based diets as a way of promoting both individual health and environmental sustainability. While Canada’s Dietary Guidelines and the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health make the individual and environmental benefits of eating more plant-based clear, current Canadian diets are not meeting these goals and recommendations. Katherine’s research will directly address this gap by working with children and their families to learn how they think about plant-based foods. By understanding barriers to plant-based eating her research team, a part of the Guelph Family Health Study, hopes to develop initiatives to support families in eating more plant-based foods.
Katherine started her journey as a registered dietitian and epidemiologically–trained researcher with an interest in health, environmental sustainability, and food security. She has provided nutritional counselling for individuals and families within both clinical and community settings and focused her master’s degree on the association between meal regularity and mental health in children. She found the work interesting and rewarding but felt called to develop capacity to affect change from a broader, more systemic level.
Why Arrell Food Institute
Katherine recognized both the University of Guelph and Arrell Food Institute as being leaders in research and agri-innovation. For that reason, she was eager to be a part of the team and work with and learn from researchers and students across various disciplines in the food systems sector. As an AFI scholar she will connect with sector leaders and continuously expand her thinking about global food issues. Her goal is to be a leader in nutrition and food systems research with a focus on healthy, sustainable eating.