Teaching children how to eat healthy at a young age increases the likelihood of them staying healthy throughout their lives.
This practice is associated with good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health. These attributes are the focus of the Grenada Food & Nutrition Council (GFNC), as the council promotes eating healthy at young ages through its Curious Little Hands in the Kitchen Program (CLHK). The council through collaboration with the 4H Club, held its first CLHK’s session for 2019 at the St Michael’s Roman Catholic School at Byelands, one of the pilot schools under the Zero Hunger Initiative, on Wednesday, 28 August 2019.
10 students from the School’s 4H club, under the guidance of officers of the GFNC were trained to create five dishes as replacements for unhealthy snacks and beverages. The items produced include avocado sandwiches, carrot sandwiches, banana mango bread, fruit pizza and chiky plantain tots. The students, who worked in three groups were allowed to work with local fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, cantaloupes, avocados and plantains. Their training included basic kitchen safety guidelines and techniques, such as grating and mincing. There were positive reviews from the students about the training session as they explained the different techniques used. “I made sandwiches with avocadoes and cheese. I grated the cheese and spread it on the bread. I also made open-face sandwiches,” said Shanika Bedeau.
Jadie Morin explained how he made Chiky Plantain Tots. “I grated the plantain, added chicken and seasoning, rolled into balls then placed into the oven.”
The teacher responsible for the 4H club, Fabian Lalitte, who was influential in bringing the programme to her school said, “I thought it was a good idea to expose them (students) to healthy snacks. This would help the children to think wisely as they would be more conscious of what they are eating. They had fun so I think they would share what they have learnt with the other students.”
The Grenada Food and Nutrition Council has worked with over 10 schools to implement the Curious Little Hands in the Kitchen Programme. Jessie Douglas, Community Nutrition Supervisor at the GFNC, underscored the importance of the programme. “We want to start with our young children. We want them to get an appreciation for local foods and help them prepare these foods. We expect them to go home and share with their families and friends on the items they prepared.”
“We oftentimes tell children how to eat healthily, but we do not show them how to prepare healthy foods. What they learn today will benefit them,” said Annah Abraham, Agricultural Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, responsible for the St Andrew’s District of the 4H Unit.
The programme provides a foundation for healthy eating by inspiring children to learn to cook easy, inexpensive, tasty foods, using locally grown produce.
Ministry of Agriculture