Posted on Wednesday 19 March 2014
Left to right: Kimberly Cleghorn, Oscar Adamu and community food worker Keely Sunderland
Young children and their families are getting advice on making healthy meals on a budget from community food workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
The classes aim to improve the eating habits of local children under the age of five and their families.
In Southwark, 26.7% of children aged four to five are overweight and 14% of these children are obese. In Lambeth, 23.5% of children aged four to five are overweight and 11.3% of them are obese.
Community food workers run free ‘cook and eat’ sessions to help families learn how to prepare and cook healthy homemade meals for their children. The sessions take place in 24 children’s centres in Lambeth, and 18 in Southwark.
Kimberly Cleghorn and her three-year-old son, Oscar Adamu, are regulars at the sessions held at the Jubilee Children’s Centre in Tulse Hill.
She says: “I started going to the cookery classes in 2011 with my older son, Ashton, who is now eight.
“Now I come along with Oscar and we have lots of fun trying out new recipes. I have a really sweet tooth so it’s great learning how to make healthier versions of some of our favourites.
“Last week we made a healthy fruit crumble using oats which we took home. The boys loved it.”
Carys Marke, service manager for children’s nutrition and dietetics, says: “It’s really important that we give local families the tools to develop healthy eating habits in their children from infancy.
“The classes give parents great tips so that cooking together as a family becomes fun rather than an effort.
“Sometimes parents start weaning babies too early, giving them foods with a high sugar content or offering very young children convenience foods that are high in fat and salt.
“We remind parents that they do have choices and should use food from their own culture as the basis of a healthy meal.
“By reducing salt, fat and sugar content and introducing more fruit and vegetables, parents can give their children the healthy start in life they need.”
Recently the team began working with families that have not previously used their services including traveller communities in Southwark.
For more information about ‘cook and eat’ sessions contact Tanisha Roberts on 020 3049 5383 or email email@example.com.