Healthy food doesn't have to be expensive - Madiba's chef tells schoolkids

2015-10-16 21:41
A pupil from Kabelo Primary smiles while making a sweet snack. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

A pupil from Kabelo Primary smiles while making a sweet snack. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Johannesburg - Xoliswa Ndoyiya, who was former president Nelson Mandela's personal chef for 20 years, visited Kabelo Primary in Kathlehong on Friday to help them with a healthy school diet.

"I worked with a person who was very close to children, Tata Mandela. He loved children and he wanted to see each and every child happy," said Ndoyiya who was there as part of a schools outreach programme by breakfast cereal company Kellogg's.

"[He used to say] if you can't give them food, give them a smile at least, give them love, give them happiness. Just show them that tomorrow will be better, don't show them the sorrows of today.

"To come here and spend this day [with the children] has taught me that kids need other people [in their lives], more especially because they come from family that are living in poverty where they hear everyday that 'I can't afford this, and I can't afford that'," said Ndoyiya.

A class of grade four pupils were taught how to create snacks that they could make at home with common ingredients.

After creating small balls of dates covered in crushed cornflakes and covered with coconut shaving or cocoa powder, the children were later allowed to make themselves a sweet treat.

The classroom was abuzz with excitement as they all competed with one another, layering their Marie biscuits with a sugar base before decorating it with a variety of sweets and sprinkles.

‘Today was fun’

Nine-year-old Tebello Tladi said she could not wait to take her treats home.

"Today was fun, I am going to eat them when I get home."

Now that she has had a mini-cooking lesson, she agreed that she would be more helpful in the kitchen at home.

Ndoyiya said parents needed to stop buying cheaper food which was less nutritious, work with what they already had at home, and get more creative.

"We cannot afford everything... but whatever you have at home, utilise it. They don't understand that from mealie meal you can create something more than just pap, you can change it into something else."

Kabelo Primary School is one of 43 schools that are part of Kellogg's Breakfast for Better Days initiative.

The initiative began in January 2014 and serves 25 000 breakfasts daily at schools in KwaZulu-Natal, Port Elizabeth, Western Cape and Gauteng.

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

Last year the company served a total of five million meals and this year they were currently at eight million.

"You don't have to have money to have a nutritious lifestyle," Kellogg's communications manager Vuyokazi Xapa said.

"If you are having white bread, switch to brown bread, it helps to keep the [children] a little bit more regular and it also keeps their energy for longer.

"We know that [money] is a problem, but you can plant your own vegetable garden," Xapa said.

Healthy tips for feeding kids

The parents were given tips on ways to make meals look more appealing to their children, who in most cases avoided eating vegetables.

"There are so many effective ways to get children to eat and to eat properly," Xapa said after the consultation.

"If you just dump a whole lot of pap on their plate and give them half the spinach, they're not getting what they need.

"But if you give them more of the spinach, if you grate it, if you do this and that with [it], it actually keeps them fuller for longer and in two hours time they're not going to say 'Mama I'm hungry again'."

Xapa also said parents needed to take it upon themselves to create healthier snack options for their children.

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

‘It makes a difference’

"If a mom [instead of saying] here is R2 for a packet of chips every day... says here is R2 for an apple every day, that makes a difference to that child's life.

"It makes a difference to that child having energy every day. A lot of the time we don't see value in those things.

"Now that we've taught them that there needs to be a protein, a fat and a carbohydrate [in their meal], it's really just half an apple with peanut butter. You've got it.

"You've got a little bit of sugar [from the apple], you've got the proteins on the peanut butter, that's a really good snack," she said.

The school's principal Jabulile Hadebe agreed, saying since the initiative kicked it at her school, attendance was almost always consistent.

"They enjoy school, my kids will never be absent for lousy reasons. They never bunk school because school is fun.

"When schools are closed they come and complain. They'll tell you 'Mam, we missed school'. I know they didn't miss me, but the stuff that comes with [being at school]," she said with a laugh.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  health

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