What constitutes healthy eating?
A little knowledge about basic nutrition and a few new vegetable recipes can make all the difference in a family’s diet.
WorldVeg Eastern and Southern Africa in collaboration with Friends In Development (FIDE) with support from the Africa RISING project organized a three-day Nutrition Message Training Course for 125 (58% women; 42% men) farmer group members, extension agents, and primary school teachers in Matufa, Shaurimoyo and Seloto villages in Babati District, Tanzania from 25-29 July 2017.
The objective of the training was to help participants understand the nutritional characteristics of different food groups and make the right choice on what type and quantity of food to eat based on commonly available food in their areas to prevent malnutrition.
The course emphasized four nutrition messages:
- Which foods to eat
- How much of each food group is needed by specific age groups
- How to develop a weekly meal plan with recipes for traditional vegetables
- General dietary guidelines
The trainees discussed the relationship between plant and human nutrition. Plants need nutrients, water, and good management to produce a healthy crop. Human beings need to produce and consume a diversity of crops, including vegetables, to have healthy diets.
Three cooking demonstrations emphasizing food safety and hygiene were conducted and three recipes (amaranth, nightshade, and African eggplant with okra) were prepared for lunch. Participants enjoyed the vegetables together with other food types from different groups and safe water for drinking.
WorldVeg staff Inviolate Dominick and Alaik Laizer collaborated with Babati District Nutrition Officer Mr. Jackson Nyella to coordinate the training.
Based on the pre-evaluation done before the training only 2% of 125 participants were aware of food types based on food groups for healthy eating.
Post-training evaluation showed that 95% of the participants were aware of the food groups and their importance for the body.
At the end of the training, a farmer from Seloto village commented: “Most of the food groups we have learned about today are available in our villages, but we need more training on proper ways to improve nutrition for our family members. The nutrition messages we have learned from this training are very useful and need to be shared with more people so that they change eating their behaviors. If people are not aware of what healthy eating is, increasing productivity with greater income or improved quality and variety of food may not result in improvements in diets and health in the community. ’’
Story and photos: Inviolate Dominick, Alaik Laizer, Felician Tillya