Workshop presents healthy food in a fun new way
Chef Jessica Platt teaches healthy meal ideas for toddlers and children during a cooking workshop Tuesday at Imperial County Public Health Department in El Centro. (FERNANDO ACOSTA JR. PHOTO / May 2, 2013)
“It’s extremely important for our kids to learn about healthier foods,” Juarez said. “It’s good to learn new ways to get kids active and excited about healthy foods.”
Hoping to gain new insight in cooking strategies, Cynthia and about 52 childcare providers participated in the Cooking the Alphabet interactive workshop, held by the Imperial County Health Department on Tuesday evening.
“We really want to show different ways to expose healthy food to children because the more we expose a child to a new food the more they will accept it,” public health nutritionist Luce Filiatrault said.
With about 31 percent of Imperial County adults struggling with obesity and 16 percent of teenagers overweight or obese, according to a California Health Interview Survey, the workshop aimed at creating fun and healthy meal ideas for toddlers and preschoolers to prevent obesity amongst local youth.
“We really want to give ideas to the childcare providers on how they can make plain food more fun and lower the obesity rate in kids,” Filiatrault said.
Demonstrating how to make healthy food exciting and tasty, gourmet chef Jessica Platt showed the group how to create sandwich flowers and vegetable silly faces.
“We are trying to use a lot of very colorful fruits and vegetables to create a creative, playful presentation,” Platt said.
Platt, owner of Gastronómica Cooking Academy and Catering Services in Mexicali, understands the need to get children interested in healthy foods, having raised her own picky eaters.
“Sometimes they will say ‘I don’t like this,’ or ‘I don’t like that’ because they haven’t tried it in an appealing way,” Platt said. “Once they see it in a fun way they are more likely to try the healthier foods.”
Hoping to learn how to create fun and delicious snacks, Ignacia Avila of Neighborhood House in Calexico took notes and joined in the demonstrations.
“My main goal here was to learn about the cooking strategies and how to get my kids having fun with vegetables,” Avila said. “It’s all about developing interesting foods.”
By the numbers
Imperial County adults:
36.7 — percent overweight
37.4 — percent men obese
24.9 — percent women obese
11.9 — percent overweight or obese
Source: California Health Interview Survey, 2009
Staff Writer Celeste Alvarez can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at email@example.com