EDITORIAL: Healthy eating for children too

Recognising that one in every three children in the Caribbean is overweight or obese, adults who are preparing meals for children in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, must ensure that they are providing these young ones with “a healthy plate”.

Now that children are off from school, at least physically, they may not really consider how they eat or what they eat, but now is the time to ensure that their diet consists of some healthy fruits and vegetables and that meals are well-balanced. It may not be easy, given that some persons have just been focusing on getting the essentials, groceries wise, but an effort can be made to ensure that our children are seeing after their nutrition and getting some exercise as well.

Healthy basket of goods

Both the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the OECS Commission have agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undermine the gains made in recent years, in the prevention and control of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as well as the maintenance of good health among people living with NCDs. As such, the two entities released a joint statement on “Strengthening Food and Nutrition Security in the Caribbean: A Legacy Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” and one key area of focus is on putting together an “Essential Basket of Food Items”, which would include fruits and vegetables. The idea is to ensure that those in the vulnerable category do not just stock up on highly processed non-perishables goods, but that they have access to a well-rounded diet.

Indeed, by opting for that healthy basket of goods that is recommended, adults in general and by extension children in our households will likely eat healthier as well, since those preparing the meals will be able to ensure that “a healthy plate” is provided. We may have to revamp how we prepare our meals, but somehow, we must ensure that we are doing what we can to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, so that we emerge from this pandemic healthier and wiser.

Have a plan in hand

Barbadians must therefore not throw caution to the wind at this time, but use the very technology they have access to, to see what they can come up with in terms of daily meals that meet the requirement of being nutritious. As we get access to the local supermarkets, minimarts and village shops, the fish markets and the vendors selling fresh produce, we should have a plan in hand and a list of what we need, to ensure that we can shop quickly and safely for what we need and not just what we want.

This pandemic is teaching us a lot about our habits and customs and some of these, we may need to change. How we eat may be one of the changes we need to make. Now that we have to plan and cook our own meals, we certainly need to give some thought to how we are fueling our bodies and that of our children and make the necessary adjustments.

Barbados Advocate

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