Brenda Chartier says a workshop has changed both the choices and food preparation for the children at the Home of the Little Eagles daycare centre in Buffalo Narrows.
“We wanted to know more about what is good, and what is not good for the kids because we want our kids to eat as healthy as possible,” says Chartier, the daycare centre director.
The School Nutrition Mentoring Project workshop in October 2018 had 21 participants from schools, day cares, and family resource centres from across northern Saskatchewan.
In October 2018, Chartier, along with the cook and assistant cook at the daycare, attended the School Nutrition Mentoring Project’s workshop in La Ronge.
The School Nutrition Mentoring Project workshop has been held for the past four years. It is one of the initiatives of the Northern Health Community Partnership, which includes the Saskatchewan Health Authority and 15 other partner organizations in northern Saskatchewan, and is led by the Healthy Eating Team. The 2018 workshop had 21 participants from schools, daycares, and family resource centres. During the four years of the workshop, there have been 56 participants from schools, daycare and family resources centres.
Chartier says they have made changes in food choices, such as no longer serving juice, while adding more fruits and vegetables. They have also changed how they prepare their food.
“What the workshop taught us is that homemade is best, and the parents love the changes and knowing what their children are eating here is homemade and healthier,” she says.
Brenda Chartier, second from left, says the School Nutrition Mentoring Project has helped them change both what they serve and how they prepare meals and snacks at the Home of Little Eagles day care centre in Buffalo Narrows.
The workshop includes four key elements – collaboration, menu planning, recipe demonstrations, and innovation.
Participants discuss ideas such as how to get kids to try new recipes, how to reduce sugar in baking and the overall diet, and how to adjust recipes to accommodate allergies.
Participants discuss healthy breakfast, snack and lunch ideas during a facilitated menu planning activity, and a nutrition mentor led three recipe demonstrations applicable to both schools and daycares. Participants share kitchen and nutrition tips throughout the day while making healthy versions of common recipes.
As a follow up to the workshop, dietitians and the nutrition mentor continue to visit and provide onsite support to participating schools and daycares.
For Chartier, the ideas and support has been helpful. There are some challenges, particularly the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, but the daycare has been adapting – including doing its own baking to manage the costs.
Chartier says the food changes have been well-received by both parents and the children.