By the end of the week, Barbadians should have a better idea how to plan, prepare and produce local meals for less.
At least that’s the goal of the National Nutrition Centre, which is spearheading activities for National Nutrition Week through to Saturday, June 1.
Chief Nutrition Officer Dianne Broome said the overall aim of the week was to engage the public in activities that could contribute to their overall improvement in health, under the theme Eating for Less – Plan, Prepare and Produce.
“We were responding to concerns voiced by the Barbadian public about the challenges faced in maintaining a healthy diet due to the high cost of food. So what we try to do, we try to educate the public, especially children as well on various options they have for healthy eating because we want to make the foods more affordable and more available, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables,” said Broome.
Today the centre held a fair in the carpark of the Vashti Inniss Empowerment Centre, Ladymeade Gardens, St. Michael, which Broome said including agencies and institutions like The National NCD Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture, Welfare Department, HIV/AIDS Food Bank, Salvation Army among others.
There were also various presentations and demonstrations on “Eating for Less”, label reading, home hydroponics, as well as the sampling of health foods throughout the day.
During her presentation this morning, the nutrition officer outlined a number of steps Barbadians could utilise to begin “eating for less”, such the preparation of a budget before going shopping and sticking to that list.
“Try to plan ahead their family meals before they set out to shop. We encourage them to plan a grocery list and then try to compare the nutritional facts on the labels when you get into the supermarket.
“We also highlighted the fact that you can reduce the cost of food by substituting peas and beans for meat, because chicken and meats are more expensive and peas and beans can give you a good source of protein without the facts that you don’t want. So you can stretch your ‘meat dollars’ by using more peas and beans and cutting down on the meat… We are not saying do not eat the meat at all, we are saying you can cut back on the amount you are eating,” she said.
During the week, the centre conducted an interactive session with St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic School, where they presented workbooks around the theme for the week. Tomorrow, they will be distributing labelling cards at a local supermarket with information on how to correctly read labels.
“We want people to be able to compare the nutritional information in different food items so they can best choose that with the highest value for the cheapest price and in so doing, calculate the salt, sugar and fat content of those foods,” she said of the exercise on Thursday. (LB)