HANGZHOU, China, June 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Volunteers from the Joyoung Hope Kitchen Project recently attended the food and nutrition class being given at China's Hangzhou Changqiao Primary School and, together with the children taking the class with them, expanded their knowledge of nutrition and health.
"I don't like carrots as they taste strange", "I don't eat tomatoes because they don't taste good", "I don't like rice as it has no flavor" are some of the comments heard during the class. Volunteers from the Joyoung Hope Kitchen Project are introducing innovative foods and assorted dishes to third graders at Hangzhou Changqiao Primary School in the classroom where the class is being taught. The children are asked to list the vegetables they don't like. They have already developed the bad habit of replacing the foods they don't like with snacks, soft drinks and deep-fried fast food. Parents undertake painstaking efforts to deal with their young picky eaters, but the results are always less than satisfactory.
The resistance to the healthier foods are quickly overcome during the Joyoung Hope Kitchen Project's food and nutrition class. Children are thrilled and squeal with delight when rice is rechristened as "rabbit" and carrots are recast as "tiger". After playing the fun little game, the vegetables and fruits take on new meaning. The "transformed" foods become a gleam in the children's eyes.
Chinese Dietary Guidelines recommend adults consume 300 to 500 grams of vegetables and 200 to 400 grams of fruit every day. Put another way, vegetables and fruits should make up half of the total volume of each meal. The CDC National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety suggests schoolchildren have vegetables as a component of every meal and eat fruit every day. The ideal is for schoolchildren to consume half a plate of vegetables at each meal, totaling 300 to 500 grams a day. In addition, they should eat one or two fresh fruits daily, weighing altogether between 200 and 400 grams. Generally speaking, the vitamin content, minerals and dietary fiber contained in vegetables are more substantial than in fruit. However, fruit contains more carbohydrates, organic acids and aromatic substances than fresh vegetables, hence, vegetables cannot act as substitutes for fruits, and vice versa.
The food and nutrition class helped children not only accept but even start to enjoy eating food they previously didn't like. Teachers said there was an air of expectancy and excitement among the children during the class as if they were at a School of Wizardry. Unlike a traditional rote learning class, the food and nutrition class is edutainment enhanced by small fun games and experiments. The children changed their eating habits while the overweight members of the class shed several pounds in a class environment that allowed playing and studying while eating.
In addition to gaining knowledge about nutrition and health, the children also developed their imagination and creativity. They prepared dishes of mixed vegetables and fruits excitedly and with determination. Some built a "Happy Car" made of fruits and said that this kind of car would help protect the environment as the only emission is fresh air; some children created a dish they named "Happy Elderly", in the hope that the sad and disabled elderly could become happy again. Each innovative mixed platter became an expression of the children's beautiful wishes.
The food and nutrition class also attracted a special volunteer who is a high school senior in America and had just came back to China during the summer vacation.
"After class, their smiling faces gave me a great sense of achievement. I was delighted to have made them happy," said Wang Tianshuang, who is 17 years old. In America, he does volunteer work every week or two, including bringing donated second hand goods to the less advantaged as well as going to assisted living facilities for seniors to accompany an elderly person on a walk with or to tell them stories. Programs such as this special course which is included in his high school's schedule are a necessary and useful public service. Although he had participated in Hope Kitchen events several times before, this was the first time that Tianshuang took on the role as a teaching assistant in a food and nutrition class. Doing volunteer work is an obligation and responsibility in the U.S. and he has become quite accustomed to it, Tianshuang said. No one asked him to be a volunteer once he knew that he would be taking his summer vacation in China, it was something he wanted to do and he asked if he could volunteer. It has given him a great sense of kinship and he says that he has gained a lot from the class.
As part of the Hope Kitchen Project, Joyoung has set up the food and nutrition class at 23 schools across 21 Chinese provinces and municipalities. The class has received wide acclaim among participants and benefited over 1,000 students. June 20th, 2015 marked the fifth anniversary of the initial launch of the project and almost a year since the launch of this particular course.
China is still at the initial exploratory stage when it comes to food and nutrition education and has a longway to go in this area. On the one hand, the Chinese government needs to develop a public service messaging program at a national level that encourages people to expand their knowledge of food nutrition and health as a key step in improving overall health. On the other, private organizations also need to explore new approaches to food and nutrition education. Joyoung is moving forward with its Hope Kitchen Project and intends tocreate an excellent food and nutrition program in China that benefits more children.
SOURCE Joyoung Company Limited