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Published August 26th 2018
The power of collaboration to tackle childhood obesity
The current statistics show that one in four children (and almost two out of three adults) within Australia are considered overweight or obese. According to international research, embedding good eating habits in children at an early age will reduce the risks of obesity later in life.
Food and Nutrition at Paisley Park Randwick with Chef Miguel Maestre
According to Professor John Wiggers, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, "nurturing better eating habits for life from a young age is a much more effective and more durable approach to tackling obesity compared to seeking to fix eating habits at a later stage."
Athough, most Australian parents want to provide nutritious meals for their children, it is difficult to plan and execute within their fast-paced lifestyle.
Kat Wieczorek-Ghisso is a thought leader in the early childhood industry and she is the Co-Founder of Paisley Park Early Learning Centres. She noted meals given to children in long day care account for up to 67% of their daily nutritional requirements and she decided to bridge the gap between the nutritional expertise and the day-to-day operating practices of early childhood education centres.
Forefront collaboration to tackle childhood obesity: Paisley Park and chef extraordinaire Miguel Maestre
In an Australian first, Paisley Park Early Learning Centre has teamed up with celebrity chef Miguel Maestre (host of Channel Ten's The Living Room) to ensure nutritional restaurant quality meals are served at their 20 centres nationally. Together, Miguel and Paisley Park are hoping to lead the fight against childhood obesity in Australia and instil healthy eating habits in children, family friendly dinner table etiquette and inspire a love of cooking.
As a result of the partnership, Paisley Park's new flagship centre in Randwick was launched last week. It was once a bowling alley, but it has been transformed into a magical learning environment, providing care and education for 150 children from six weeks of age.
The centre is designed around a play-based, experiential learning curriculum with an onsite kabana-style open-air kitchen, campground, full-size rock-climbing wall, mud pit, fish ponds, veggie gardens and discovery nature trails.
From the entry, right through to each specific educational area, everything (and I mean everything) is well thought out and planned. The beautifully crafted wood furnishings and lively green plants immediately gave us a feeling of nature and warmth. The large open play areas looked inviting with various playful equipment. Even as adults, we wanted to join and play!
Both Kat and Miguel were there to greet the guests. We sampled some of Miguel's seasonal menus, such as Miguel's lamb gozleme, apple and buckwheat pikelets with chia jam and mint ricotta, broccoli, spinach & apple muffin and mini beetroot & zucchini burger!
These wholesome signature snacks looked fun, appealing and tasted delicious. There were a lot of new ideas and techniques involved.
Kat explained Paisley Park's mission."Children are remarkably inquisitive so at Paisley Park Early Learning Centres we engage them early, in a fun and practical way. We engage them in concepts relating to health and well-being, sustainability and the entire cooking process from garden to plate. The physical wellbeing of children is a key focus across all our centres, with the belief that healthy eating is at the heart of this."
Implementing revolutionary approach to teaching children healthy eating habits and creating positive relationships with food from an early age.
Kat personally took us on a tour of the centre. The colours, flooring and all the intricate interior details were carefully thought of to bring a calming environment for the little ones. The layout is carefully designed with each room and educational area in mind, flowing naturally from room to room (we all loved the kids' toilet area!).
Miguel highlighted the importance of good, healthy eating habits in early children's development through the engaging learning experience and cooking masterclass. There were a lot of laughs, fun and it was an interactive cooking experience.
Our creation - Zucchini pasta with chicken, chroizo, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs from the garden.
Health eating is more than just the food you eat, it's truly about education and through these interactive activities, children are given the opportunity to taste new flavours as well as be a part of the cooking process.