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School children and parents team up in the kitchen to promote healthy eating

Primary school children and their parents, grandparents or carers have teamed up in the kitchen in a healthy eating pilot scheme.

The Come and Cook with Your Child programme invited parents, grandparents or carers and four and five-year-old children from Bryn Deva school in Connah’s Quay,  Westwood school in Buckley, Bryn Coch school in Mold and Ysgol Gwalchmai in Anglesey to simple, fun cookery classes and physical activity sessions.

Come and Cook with me, Wrexham and Flintshire

The pilot, run by dietetic assistants from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board with the support of Leisure Services, aims to promote positive eating habits, encourage knowledge of healthy eating and improve confidence in preparing good affordable food, as well as promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.  The initial funding for this pilot project was provided by South Flintshire GP Cluster.  

Children and adults were encouraged to team up to create dishes including chicken nuggets, pasta bake, chilli and soup recipes from scratch.

The classes, which ran for six weeks, saw 29 children and 30 adults get cooking with their parents.

Dietetic Assistant Practitioner Claire O’Kane, who organised the Flintshire classes, said: “The idea really was to get parents and their children to have fun with food and create meals using healthy ingredients. We wanted them to see how easy and fun it can be to team up in the kitchen to make meals which are nutritious, tasty and affordable.”

“There’s a real issue with healthy eating among young age groups, with over a quarter of children in Wales being overweight or obese and less than a third of children reporting they eat a portion of vegetables once a day.”

“The children and adults had a fantastic time, and hopefully picked up the skills and knowledge they need to continue to cook and eat more healthily at home and have a more active lifestyle.”

One of the parents from Westwood Primary school said: “The cooking course has helped me out a lot. I have got more confident in the kitchen and also being able to cook more with my son...[the course] has made me change a lot I buy from the shops.  My son tells everyone he talks to about his cooking and asks me everyday are we cooking today.  He loves it and so do I.”

Dietetic Assistant Practitioner Anwen Weightman, who organised the Anglesey class, said: “We’ve had great feedback from the families and the schools taking part in the programme. By making cooking together a fun, rewarding activity, we hope participants will feel encouraged to develop healthy eating habits and spend quality family time together in the kitchen.”

Dietitians are now writing a report to share findings from the pilot, with a view to securing funding to run more classes in the new school year