Food vendors participating in this year’s Agrofest are being urged to consider offering healthier menu options.
The suggestion came from Community Nutrition Officer, Andrea Griffith, who noted that the island continues to have a tough time battling Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
She was one of the presenters at yesterday’s food vendors workshop, hosted by the Agrofest Secretariat of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) at the Dining Club.
Warning that chances of developing a stroke, heart attack or diabetic complications were heightened by excessive consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt, Ms. Griffith stated that although people have individual responsibility for their health, food vendors also had a role to play.
“I know most persons when they come to buy something they are having fun; nobody is studying anything healthy! But guess what? If that is what you are offering, that is what they are purchasing.
“Now there are also lots of persons in the community who are aware of NCDs and the horrible effects they have and are asking for healthier alternatives…. Sometimes you have to think ahead of your customer and clients and offer them what you know is a better alternative. I am not trying to stop you from making money but I’m saying we all have a role to play,” Ms. Griffith advised.
She therefore recommended alternative cooking methods such as grilling or baking, instead of frying. Additionally, she encouraged them to use less salt and fats and to use more local produce, herbs and spices.
The nutritionist noted this could also influence children to adopt healthy eating practices, which will benefit them in the long-term. “In your preparations, I would encourage you to aim to use as many local foods as possible. From the standpoint that we have the Grow Well; Eat Well; Live Well (GEL) programme and the children are doing a tremendous job. So, by using local produce, we are actually encouraging them and showing the benefits of using local items,” Ms. Griffith concluded.
Agrofest will be held from February 23 to 25 in Queen’s Park, under the theme: Youth! Farming the Future.