AWRIGHT DEN: Three square meals
By Corey Worrell | Thu, April 26, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Last school term, I filled in at a secondary school as a mathematics teacher for a member of staff who was on leave. I must say that I enjoyed my term there and staff, inclusive of teachers, ancillary and administration personnel, were very professional, friendly and easy to work with.
One day during week 5 or 6, I saw a teacher eating some lunch. I asked him: “Where did you get this food from?”
He responded: “The canteen”. I said: “The canteen! I didn’t know the canteen sold food.” He said: “Yes, they actually have a variety of options.”
During my three months at the school, the majority of students I encountered who bought lunch from the canteen purchased mainly two things: a portion of fried chips or a portion of fried chips and fried chicken. The only thing they added to the order was ketchup and mayonnaise.
I asked a few students how often they bought chips – and guess what? They told me they did it every day, once the items were available.
To make things worse, during lunch on most days there are fewer than 30 students playing either on the field or hard courts. I also encountered students who ate cookies and coke or corn curls and coke for lunch every day. I was of the opinion they ate this type of food because they had little money, but I was surprised to hear that they chose to spend as little as possible on lunch because they were saving up to buy a “snap back” hat or a G-Shock watch or a North Face bag. Mind you, these are the same students who would tell you they have no stationery or can’t afford a calculator.
When I spoke to teachers at other secondary schools, I was not surprised to hear that students at their schools had the same habits.
I remember when I was the form teacher of a first form at Deighton Griffith Secondary, I banned my first form from purchasing, bringing to school or drinking soft drinks during school hours. At first, there was great opposition from the students, but within two to three weeks, with the support of parents, 26 out of 30 students gave me their support.
Bad leaders don’t make bad decisions; bad leaders make no decisions. Our leaders within the health and education sectors need to work together and make some serious decisions concerning the health of our children. Parents also need to be more involved in their children’s day to day nutrition.
My good friend and fellow youth worker Jason Francis said in an article in Monday’s DAILY NATION that all new parents should be made to take parental classes and I agree with him. Some people have no idea what a child’s nutritional needs are.
It is disappointing to note that in Barbados there are no large-scale organic supermarkets available to those who recognize the need of healthy eating. Thank God for Jens and all they are doing, but I believe we need a large supermarket or an outlet filled with healthy, organic and nutritional products and foods.
If I had the money, this is a business I would pursue. With the number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases, the thousands of vegetarians and BARP members and the number of health-conscious Barbadians, there is a market and I believe the business would be profitable and would help in the development of healthy citizens.
I also believe that taxes on healthy foods should be less.
My friend Corey Springer, who is a fitness instructor and nutritionist, has a photo album on Facebook called Dieting Should Never Be Boring, where he posts meals that he has prepared that are very healthy, tasty and fun and easy to make. His recipes have inspired me and I am sure countless other people to eat healthier, cook our own food and enjoy it. With the number of cooking shows being introduced on CBCTV8, which is a great initiative, there should be a show where people like Corey and others who cook healthy foods can teach the nation how to prepare healthy and tasty foods.
Let’s empower our people, bearing in mind that three unhealthy “square” meals a day will make you “round”.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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