Fri | Jan 18, 2019

CPFSA partners with Tyson to spice up meals in children's homes

Published:Saturday | May 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
This group of boys were intrigued by what they read in this book in the Jessie Repol Primary school library during a break in the school’s chess tournament in which they were participating, yesterday.

The Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) has enlisted chef extraordinaire Jacqui Tyson to examine meals prepared in both government-run and privately operated children's homes, with a view to making them more nutritious and appealing to children.

Underscoring the agency's commitment to good nutrition, Floyd Green, minister of state with responsibility for youth, said that Tyson was recruited to look at the menu options and serving sizes, among other things.

"Jacqui is on board to go into our homes, work with some of our chefs, and look at some of the things that they prepare to see how we can spice it up and make it more attractive, especially for the younger children, while still remaining healthy," said Green.

On Wednesday, he, alongside Tyson, prepared and served meals to many of the children housed at the Glenhope Nursery and Place of Safety located on Maxfield Avenue in St Andrew.

"We gave them egg, bread, apples, and pineapples. What we're doing is infusing the fruit into their basic meals so that they get into the habit, from very early, of eating fruits," said Green.




The junior minister further noted that the partnership with Tyson would extend beyond Child Month, which is observed in the month of May.

He also used the occasion to encourage parents to take seriously the message of good nutrition.

"We've also been on a drive to not only upgrade the facilities, but to upgrade things like the kitchen space so that we can have very well-run food programmes throughout our homes," he explained.

"We try to keep it low-cost because, clearly, whether you're running a household or a [children's] home, cost is important. But even in keeping it low cost, you can still make it exciting, attractive, and, of course, healthy," Green contended.


Nutrition necessary for children's success


Manager of the Glenhope Nursery and Place of Safety Fayola Cole says that her outlook on child nutrition is simple: a child who is underfed or inadequately nourished cannot successfully compete in the world with a child who is properly nourished.

Cole made the assertion on Tuesday minutes after the children at the government-run home were treated to a balanced breakfast prepared and served by renowned chef Jacqui Tyson, youth minister Floyd Green, and head of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency Rosalee Gage-Grey.

"One of the things that we have undertaken within the last year is to reduce a lot of the sugar and much of the processed foods that are in the diets of our children," said Cole.

"Additionally, every meal we prepare is served along with fruits, or in the case of dinner or supper, it is served with vegetables, preferably raw vegetables," she added.

Earlier, Gage-Grey had noted that three meals and two snacks per day was the standard across government-operated children's home.

"We have visited the other homes, but Glenhope is the one we're doing for Child Month," Gage-Grey pointed out.

"We have a meal plan for the homes that the administrators and the cooks should work with to ensure that the meals are nutritious.

"Also, some of the children may have special dietary needs that they need to take account of. So this is our way of sharing with them while treating the children," said Gage-Grey.