The Rosendaël Community Center in Dunkirk (France) has set itself the goal of improving children’s health and helping them develop healthy eating habits by encouraging them to eat more fruits and vegetables.
To achieve this goal, the Community Center plans holding small workshops for primary school children (who are signed up for extracurricular support) to tell them about vegetables and teach them how to cook them and eat healthier.
Nutrition education and taste discovery are the cross-cutting objectives shared by all departments in the Community Center: daycare, leisure activities, school support, and the youths, adults & families teams. During the various workshops held as part of this scheme, we put the emphasis on practical skills to help keep the children interested. The project focuses on all kinds of vegetables, raw or cooked, and prepared in different ways to encourage the children to taste them. In cookery workshops, led by a professional, the child is inspired to “do it yourself”, which reduces the likelihood of them saying no and makes them want to learn.
Given a budget that they have to stick to, the children go shopping at the local grocer’s to see, touch, smell and choose different types of fresh, seasonal vegetables that are often unfamiliar to and “disliked” by children. The fact they get to go grocery shopping themselves makes them want to try the vegetables and appreciate them. Children in the past have come back with red cabbage, lettuce, and even Brussels sprouts!
They also have access to our Cyber Center so they can search for information and images online about seasonal vegetables and potential recipes.
These workshops inspire the children to learn for themselves, search online for something other than video games, and cook new recipes like red cabbage and apple tart! We also arrange tasting sessions for the children with their parents. This lets the children show off their hard work, and gives the parents some new ideas! These workshops promote family togetherness and joyful memories.
A booklet entitled “Let’s Go Cook-oo” has been put together by children at the Rosendaël Community Center with images of the vegetables they like (such as carrots, corn salad, leek, Jerusalem artichoke, turnip, rutabaga, chicory, and Brussels sprouts), recipes (cheesy mashed parsnip, artichoke and broccoli with French dressing, carrot and frangipane king cake, etc.), and mini-games and quizzes on fruit and vegetables.
This project was supported by the Louis Bonduelle Foundation during its summer 2016 call for proposals.