CHILDREN eating healthily in Rose Hill have been rewarded with certificates by Oxford’s Lord Mayor.
On Thursday the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club cooked and served a multicultural tea to Mohammed Abbasi, their parents and governors from Rose Hill Primary School.
Mr Abbasi said: “I enjoyed the Asian cookies. It’s good that children are learning to cook well.”
The club employs Julia Hayes, a nutritionist, to lead cooking sessions for the club’s 80 members and teach them about the benefits of healthy eating.
The cooking lessons are part of the youth club’s Young Leadership Scheme, where older children are given greater responsibilities and learn skills in the group’s after-school sessions.
Mrs Hayes, from Benson, said: “We have a cooking group, and we’ll cook recipes – just simple things that the rest of the children eat at the end of the youth club session.
“We have been doing a lot of pasta dishes with a lot of vegetables pulsed down into a sauce, or noodles with Chinese sauces, or vegetable massala sauce with wraps and salad.
“In terms of puddings I’ve been doing things with less sugar and more fruit, like bread and butter pudding.
“We produce a healthy tea with more vegetables and less sugar, less fat and less salt.”
The 46-year-old said: “The idea is to encourage children to get involved with food. I want to get them interested in food and comfortable with preparing food rather than relying on microwave meals.
“They don’t learn how to cook as much in schools as I used to. We’ve lost that a little bit over the years.
“Cooking is one of those things that stays with you for life and something you can pass on to your own children.”
The children seem to be eating it up. Nine-year-old Mimi Partlett, from Rose Hill, said: “It’s quite fun because we get to do all sorts of stuff like pizza bases and pasta. Salad is my favourite because I like chopping it..
“Proper cooked food will give you more energy than food that’s not that healthy.”
Ewan Baggett, 12, added: “It tastes good. Even kids who don’t like making it like eating it.”
Rose Hill resident Miriam Olayinka , nine, said: “It’s good because you can learn how to cook when you grow up and you can teach your own children. You don’t have to have takeaways all the time. You can just make it and it tastes better.”
Rose Hill Community Worker Fran Gardner said: “The children were very proud that the Lord Mayor presented them with their certificates.”