Having a variety of fresh foods from all the essential food classes provides one with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, Nestlé Nigeria Plc said on Saturday in Lagos.
Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) Manager of Nestlé Nigeria, made the assertion at an event to mark the 2018 International Chefs Day.
The International Chefs Day is commemorated annually on Oct. 20.
The theme for 2018: “Healthy Foods for Growing Up”, is intended to encourage children to think about what they will like to be when they grow up, and how healthy eating today can help them get there”.
According to Uwadoka, the body needs a variety of the nutrients from protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals food classes to stay healthy and productive.
“We at Nestlé believe that foods and beverages can be both tasty and healthy; food plays an important role in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
“So, the World Chefs Day is an opportunity for us to gather with the chef community, those who make sure that we have food to sensitise people about the importance of healthy eating, healthy food habits, especially for children.
“It is important to know how to combine the food that we eat, how to eat healthy and to grow up healthy, then to achieve our dream of living a qualitative life because it is one thing to be alive and one thing to live well.
“Good food makes us live good life and well and for us at Nestlé, our purpose is to contribute to healthier future for individuals and our families,’’Uwadoka said.
She added: “If one eats well at the basic days, earlier days of one’s life, there is a greater opportunity to grow up healthier, to grow strong and not to have any of the health challenges that people have in later years.
“So, it is important for us to seize any opportunity, just like the World Chefs Day, to sensitise people on the importance of healthy eating.
“It also aligns with what the world chefs association does; to bring the chefs and children together so that they can learn about healthy eating early in life.
“Our Nestlé for Healthier Kids programme was established as part of our commitment to improve nutrition for children.
“And, through this dynamic International Chefs Day collaboration with World Chefs, we are making great strides towards helping children to eat better, firmly establishing healthy food habits and diets as they grow up.”
Uwadoka urged the students to share what they had learnt from the cooking demonstrations with their families and friends.
Mr Akintunde Adeshina, popularly known as Chef Shine, said that the Chefs Day aimed to ensure that the profession is sustained.
Chef Shine, who works in Nestlé Nigeria Plc, urged Nigerians to imbibe the habit of eating fresh and healthy food.
“It is important to teach the children how to eat healthy and make healthy foods from fresh foods and vegetables.
“We should go back to the basis where we started; we have been endowed with good variety of foods and we must take advantage of same.
“Almost every house can grow one food or the other; we should do that to avoid adding so many additives in our foods, as well reduce the rate of eating processed foods.
“We should ensure that we eat more vegetables and fruits in our foods,’’ the chef advised.
Another chef, Chef Ehis, also said that International Chefs Day aimed to celebrate the profession and to transfer culinary knowledge and skills with a sense of pride and commitment to the future generations.
According to him, being a chef is exciting as “you experiment with a whole variety of ingredients to come up with really delicious meals.
“Also, you make a lot of money; you can always be self-employed, if you want; as a chef, you can always create food and market it, you can do freelance and travel.
“However, the most important thing about being a chef is that it helps to grow the economy, helps to improve our social life and helps us to live healthy,’’ he said.
Chef Ehis said that the fundamentals for becoming a good chef was being focused, in the kitchen, being at alert, creative, understanding how to mix food classes and mostly importantly, recognising and practising good hygiene.
Miss Sylvia Afolabi, a student, who participated in the programme said that she found the cooking practical very exciting.
According to her, she will share her learnings with her family and friends and urge them to imbibe healthy eating habits.
Another participant, Miss Chikum Peter-Ihechu, that she had learnt the importance of good hygiene in the kitchen.
For Mr Ayo Adedeji, who also participated, the efforts of Nestle and Chefs for putting up the programme should be commended.
He said that he would be an ambassador of healthy eating and healthy living.
The programme is part of the activities under the Nestlé for Healthier Kids, a global initiative, which was re-launched in May in Nigeria.
Its purpose is to promote healthy eating habits, healthy nutrition habits, healthy hydration and an active lifestyle in school children.