MindChamps pupils to get organic meals under Aussie tie-up

A teacher carrying out an activity with pre-schoolers at MindChamps PreSchool.
A teacher carrying out an activity with pre-schoolers at MindChamps PreSchool. PHOTO: MINDCHAMPS HOLDINGS

From June, about 3,000 pre-schoolers here will get to guzzle fresh milk imported weekly from Down Under.

The revamped diet, which includes volcanic alkaline water, is part of a tie-up between pre-school operator MindChamps and Australia's Beston Global Foods, which specialises in organic products.

The two brands have launched a joint venture, Beston MindChamps Kids Nutrition, which started operations in February.

On top of having Beston products for their four daily meals in pre-school, pupils will be taught about healthy eating, said MindChamps founder David Chiem.

MindChamps, which has 33 pre-schools here and centres around the region too, will serve its pupils - aged between 11/2 and six years old - four Beston products to begin with: low-fat milk, alkaline water from Mount Gambier, low-fat, low-salt cheese and yogurt sweetened with honey.

 

The new menu is not expected to affect school fees, which start at $1,540 a month.

Of late, there has been a push for healthy meals in pre-schools, with the authorities announcing in February that they will have to dish out balanced meals.

The joint venture expects to import 120,000 litres of low-fat milk and 660,000 litres of alkaline water a year, as well as 76,800kg of the honey-sweetened yogurt and 9,600kg of the cheese.

But is the push for healthy food for children being taken too far?

Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran, an applied nutrition expert at Temasek Polytechnic, told The Straits Times that specialised health food is often not necessary, especially for healthy young children.

"To me, as a nutritionist, there is no difference between UHT (ultra-heat treatment) milk and fresh milk," she said. The purported benefits of alkaline water are not scientifically proven either, she added.

Yogurt and cheese contain calcium - vital for strong, healthy bones. Skimmed and semi- skimmed milk have slightly more calcium, said Dr Kalpana. "It's important to note that full-cream milk is the best choice of milk for children aged up to two years."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'MindChamps pupils to get organic meals under Aussie tie-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe