Early child­hood chef en­joys mile­stone

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

An east Auck­land chef re­spon­si­ble for 130 pre-school­ers’ daily lunches cel­e­brated a healthy mile­stone last week.

Fern Pereira, who for the last six years has man­aged meals and recipes for three pre-schools through the Par­nell Com­mu­nity Trust, grad­u­ated from Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy’s Level 4 Pa­cific Nutri­tion course.

Pereira over­sees meal plans for Par­nell Early Child­hood Cen­tre, Glad­stone Park Early Child­hood Cen­tre and St Johns Early Child­hood Cen­tre, pro­vid­ing morn­ing tea, lunch and af­ter­noon tea all cooked from scratch on site.

The nine-week course fo­cused on learn­ing how to ad­vise, train and sup­port oth­ers in mak­ing healthy food choices.

‘‘I en­joyed learn­ing about the science be­hind nutri­tion, the in­tri­cate work­ings of our heart and di­ges­tive sys­tems, and to un­der­stand why it’s so im­por­tant to eat the right foods in or­der for our bod­ies to work prop­erly.’’

She was es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in the Pa­cific el­e­ment of nutri­tion be­cause the early child­hood cen­tres she cre­ates menus for are very fo­cused on mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism.

One dish she added to her menus be­cause of the course was a chicken sapa­sui - a type of Samoan chop sui.

The course was de­signed to cre­ate pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships with food and to es­tab­lish healthy habits for life, Pereira said.

Pereira is re­spon­si­ble for the Par­nell Trusts’ healthy and sus­tain­able eat­ing pro­grammes for the three preschools.

‘‘Every meal that I cook has hid­den veg­eta­bles mixed in and chopped finely. For in­stance our Mac­a­roni and cheese has broc­coli and cau­li­flower all through it.

‘‘In­stead of leav­ing it un­til pri­mary school we want to try and how it can be used as a build­ing block.’’

Pereira’s next move is to cre­ate su­per­heros for car­bo­hy­drates, oils, min­er­als and fats.

‘‘Health pro­mo­tion and ed­u­ca­tion is the only way for­ward, be­cause we re­ally are what we eat.’’

JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Fern Pereira en­joyed learn­ing about the science be­hind nutri­tion and the in­tri­cate work­ings of the hu­man heart and di­ges­tive sys­tems.

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