By Vivian Ihechu
As the world marks the 2017 International Chef Day, Nestle Nigeria Plc, a leading food and beverage company, has urged parents to involve children while preparing their meals.
According to the organisation, this will encourage them to adopt good eating habits which will make them to grow into healthy well-balanced adults.
Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestle Nigeria Plc., made the call at an event to celebrate this year’s International Chef Day on Friday in Abeokuta.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that globally, International Chef Day is commemorated annually on Oct. 20 and the theme for 2017 is: “Foods for Healthy Heroes’’.
Uwadoka said: “To promote healthy eating to children, Nestle Nigeria is joining forces with the Nigerian Association of Chefs Societies on International Chef Day.
“A Nestle study found that involving children in preparing and cooking meals encourages them to adopt good eating habits.
“The theme for this year is used to raise awareness in children about healthy eating by allowing them be creative with food.
“We also aim to inspire chefs and to provide nutritious and fun recipe ideas for their kids’ menu.’’
The corporate communications and public affairs manager said: “For us at Nestle, our vision is to help improve quality of life and to contribute to a healthier future for all.
“In our bid to do that, we want to impact on individuals and their families to make the right food choices, not only by providing the right food, but by providing the right information.
“This will help them take right decisions.
“So, this day is an opportunity for us to speak to young children and bring them together with chefs who are professionals in the field of preparing these tasty nutritious meals.
“This is to let the children to imbibe these healthy meal habits at the early stages of their lives as it will help them to eat right and to understand why they need to eat right.
“Ultimately, when they go home and share the information with their families, it benefits not only themselves but their families and the nation at large,’’ Uwadoka said.
According to her, the activity is also part of Nestle for Healthier Kids programme, which forms part of the company’s commitment to promote children’s nutrition, health and well-being.
Mr Dauda Akano, Business Manager, Nestle Professionals Nigeria, said: “Children form the bedrock of any family and the society.
“A well-nourished child is the pride of any parent, school, government and society.
“The strength of any nation is the people and a healthy people make a healthy productive force; children are the leaders of tomorrow and the need for them to be healthy is critical.
“So, today, we are celebrating not only our chefs but also the Nigerian children; we are educating them on how to make tasty, healthier meals in a fun way.
“Furthermore, we will learn the important roles different kinds of foods play in enhancing our all-round development.
“At Nestle Professionals, we are committed to providing expertise and efficient innovative food solutions to help our chefs win,’’ Akano said.
Speaking with NAN, Mr Olayinka Eboda, a member of Association of Professional Chefs of Nigeria, said: “International Chefs Day is a great opportunity for us to reach children within the communities where we live and work.
“We are excited to spend time teaching them on the benefits of a healthy diet in a fun way.
“There is need for Nigerians to begin to take their meals and eating habits seriously; no matter the little you have, it can be prepared to be healthy and presented in attractive ways,’’ Eboda said.
Mrs Egunjobi, SUBEB Director in Ogun, said that education on the benefits of good feeding habits was critical for Nigerians to truly lead healthy lives.
According to her, the children are the heroes of today and tomorrow, and passing this information to them is appropriate.
Gbenga Ajayi, a nine-year-old pupil, commended Nestle for organising the programme, saying he had learnt why it was important to eat healthy and how creative one can be in preparing and presenting dishes.
NAN reports that over 50 students from selected schools in Ogun took part in the event that involved cookery workshops led by a team of professional chefs and representatives from Nestle Professionals.
The children were encouraged to be creative with fruits and vegetables by turning fruits and vegetables into edible “Healthy Heroes’’.