Kids in the kitchen focus on health
Goodstart Victorian and Tasmanian children are getting their hands dirty in the kitchen thanks to a new program teaching them about fresh fruit and vegetables and how to incorporate them into their daily meals.
Nine Goodstart centres across Victoria and Tasmania are about to roll out the Jamie Oliver’s Learn Your Fruit and Veg program
, an initiative of the Good Foundation, to make learning about food fun.
Throughout the program, the children focus on four items of fresh, seasonal produce and they are taught how to cook healthy meals using the fruits or vegetables as the hero of the dish.
Jamie Oliver's Learn Your Fruit and Veg program inspires children to get their hands messy, fingers sticky, and mouths watering while they learn about food , what it is, where it comes from, and how food and the body works.
“The children learn about where and how the hero ingredients are grown, what they look like and then they use children’s safety utensils like knives to create their own no-cook meal using the hero ingredients,” said Goodstart Victoria and Tasmania Social Inclusion Coordinator Lauren Lloyd.
She said seven Victorian centres and two Tasmanian centres were about to launch the program to help children increase their food literacy and to help their families learn more about healthy food options and how to make healthy food stretch across a number of meals.
“We know parenting is hard and busy and stressful and that parents need quick and easy meals that fill their kids up, and we thought the ‘Learn Your Fruit and Veg’ and ‘Save with Jamie’ programs would be a great opportunity to arm families with the skills to make quick and easy meals that are also healthy.”
Goodstart cooks in the participating centres were also being trained by the Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food accredited facilitators so they can continue to build on the program within their centre.
Participating centres were also running Save with Jamie sessions to help parents learn how to make multiple meals using just one healthy ingredient.
“For example they might focus on how to use a pumpkin or a chicken for multiple meals to help make their food budget stretch further,” Mrs Lloyd said.
A pilot program was run earlier this year and Goodstart McKinnon
in Victoria participated.
Centre director Barbara Echeverria said the program was a wonderful way to extend her children’s love of food and it helped them to learn how to cook simple meals and try new foods they might not try around their family tables.
The children learned how to make dishes like bruschetta which showcased tomato and onion as the main ingredients and salads using olives and cucumbers.
“We do a lot of cooking in the centre with our children so we signed on for Jamie Oliver’s Learn Your Fruit and Veg program and it was amazing,” she said.
“The children loved it because they were able to experience cooking, cutting and making foods they might not have had before, and the parents reported that a lot of them were asking to cook the same meals at home for their families.
“Anything that gets the children excited and passionate about healthy and nutritious food is such a positive thing.”