CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — The Department of Education’s School Meals Programme on Nevis continues to find creative ways to broaden the culinary taste of young children while keeping meals healthy and tasty.
Mrs. Renell Daniel, School Meals Coordinator in the Department of Education of the Nevis Island Administration revealed a new initiative included in the programme dubbed “Tour Around the Caribbean.”
“Each Thursday, school cooks prepare dishes from other Caribbean countries,” explained Mrs. Daniel. “This is one way the programme is keeping pre-school and primary school children engaged and interested in different foods.
“We’re excited to showcase our Tour Around the Caribbean menu,” she said. “Wendy Tsai and I have worked on this, and the cooks, Education Officers and many other people have contributed to this term’s menu.
“We want to introduce our children to different cultures and different parts of our Caribbean,” said Mrs. Daniel. “The programme also endeavours to introduce the children to locally-grown fruits and vegetables by incorporating them into meals as much as possible.
“This is a great programme where our children can appreciate our culture and our local foods,” she said. “We also have different fruit that will be donated by the Department of Agriculture to serve with the meals if they are in season. Our cooks will cut up fruit donated by local farmers and serve it for the children to enjoy.
“We found that many of the children have not tried these fruits or vegetables at home, but when they see all of their classmates eating the fruit and vegetables, they will be much more willing to try them,” said Mrs. Daniel.
While the School Meals Programme sources fresh produce from local farmers and vendors, schools also grow some of their own food.
“We also depend on our gardens,” said Mrs. Daniel. “All schools have gardens that will supplement what we serve each day, but we hope to do more this term in terms of our school gardens.”
Weekly menus for the schools are posted on the Ministry’s Facebook page on Mondays so parents can have an idea of what the children will be eating. Menus are reviewed each term and tweaked as necessary during the course of the semester.
Ms. Wendy Tsai, a nutritionist from Taiwan working with the School Meals Programme, spoke said the School Meals Programme’s initiative is also to get young students to drink more water.
“Wednesdays are designated ‘Water Wednesdays,’ when children know to only bring water to school and are served water with their lunches,” said Ms. Tsai. “All pre-schools and primary schools, whether public or private, participate in the initiative.
“On Fridays, recipes are posted on the Ministry of Education’s Facebook page for parents and others to make healthy meals at home,” concluded Tsai.