Banana dolphins, watermelon pizza fruit snacks help pre-school kids to eat healthy

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin with pre-school children at the PPIS Child Development Centre in Bukit Batok.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin with pre-school children at the PPIS Child Development Centre in Bukit Batok.ST PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN

SINGAPORE - By carving a banana into a dolphin in a few simple steps, the fruit can both look fun and be a tasty snack.

On Tuesday morning (Aug 27), children at the Singapore Muslim Women's Association (Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura, or PPIS) Child Development Centre in Bukit Batok learnt ways to make fruits look more appealing as they created banana dolphins, watermelon pizza, and fruit kebab caterpillars.

The activities are aimed at instilling healthy eating habits, including learning about the nutritional value of fruits, tasting them, and learning how to make them look more enticing.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin attended the session and joined the children in learning more about healthy lifestyle habits.

He also struck yoga poses with the children during an exercise session.

Pupils at the Bukit Batok centre range from those in their first year of playgroup to Kindergarten 2, and are aged between 18 months and six.

Mr Amrin shared with them the Health Promotion Board's My Healthy Plate concept, in which a well-balanced and tasty meal would see half the plate filled with fruit and vegetables and a quarter with wholegrain foods, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread.

The rest should include food such as meat, fish, bean products and nuts.

At the event, PPIS launched the Fruity Friday initiative, which is targeted at children and their families so that they can learn more about the importance of including fruit in their diet.

Children at the Bukit Batok centre, where the initiative is being piloted, will bring a fruit to school every Friday. Their parents are also invited to share healthy recipes.

Fruity Friday will be introduced in the other six PPIS Child Development Centres in the last quarter of 2019.

Mr Amrin said the number of overweight children in mainstream schools has been increasing, from 10 per cent in 2010 to 12 per cent in 2016.

He applauded the use of hands-on, creative and fun ways to help children get used to the taste of fruit and vegetables, adding that it is important to inculcate a love for healthy food from a young age.