NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (January 26, 2021) – 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 (NIA), in a recent interview with the Department of Information revealed a new initiative included in the programme dubbed “Tour around the Caribbean.”
Each Thursday the cooks prepare dishes from other countries in the Caribbean. This, she explained, 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. Wendy [Tsai] and I have worked on this, and the cooks and EOs [Education Officers] and so many other persons have contributed to this term’s menu…
“We want to introduce our children to different cultures as well as different parts of our Caribbean,” she said.
Mrs. Daniel said the programme also endeavors to introduce the children to locally grown fruits and vegetables by incorporating them into meals as much as possible.
“I think this is a great programme where our children can appreciate our culture and our local foods. We also have different fruits that would be donated by the Department of Agriculture that we would serve alongside the meals if they are in season. Any fruits donated by our local farmers, our cooks would cut those up and serve in a presentable way 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 these fruits and vegetables, they are so much more willing to try them,” she said.
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. All schools have some sort of garden that would supplement what we serve each day, but we hope to do more this term in terms of our school gardens,” the Coordinator said.
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 to the School Meals Programme’s initiative to get young students to drink more water.
She said Wednesdays are designated “Water Wednesdays” where children know only to bring water to school and they are served water with their lunches as well. All pre-schools and primary schools, whether public or private schools, participate in the initiative.
Ms. Tsai also pointed out that on Fridays, recipes are posted on the Ministry of Education’s Facebook page for parents and others to make healthy meals at home.