Tuesday, August 29, 2017

“Recipes for Healthy Meals”: A recipe book to combat undernutrition



With eye-catching beautiful photography, delicious recipes containing locally available ingredients and an inspiring presentation, the “Recipes for Healthy Meals” book is now available in Timor-Leste. The book covers types of food and information that families need for ensuring nutrition of children and family members. Written in Tetum (local language), the book presents 31 delicious and healthy recipes of nutritious food for infants, young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and other family members.

Franzelina dos Reis happily showing banana pumpkin mash after cooking. 
©UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/ahelin
 The book is a result of an effort of mothers and Mother Support Group members who came together and contributed by bringing their knowledge and experiences together. It also explains the techniques of ensuring hygiene practices while cooking and serving food as well as nutritious value of each food item with illustration.

As part of the demonstration of recipes, Mother Support Group members participated in a cooking event in Dari, a suburb area of Dili, the capital of Timor Leste.

“I am so happy to take part in this activity. It’s a learning opportunity for me; I’ve learned how to prepare various nutritious meals. I learned a new recipe on how to make a banana and pumpkin mashed for baby. These food are very healthy and yummy; I’ll prepare this food for my children at home,” said Franzelina dos Reis (32), who was one of the participants participated in the cooking demonstration session.

Adao de Jesus proudly showing “Na’an Ho ForTali”-  that he cooked. 
©UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/ahelin
 Adao de Jesus (26), a Mother Support Group member also contributed by providing his recipe “Na’an Ho Fore-Tali”- a delicious mixed of vegetables and meat- for children aged 2 to 5 years, and also for adult. According to Adão, every one of his family including children love this food.  

“Developing a food recipe book for children, mothers and families is a great initiative as community involved themselves in producing the recipe by using variety of local foods,” said Ana Maria Guterres, Health Promotion Officer of the Ministry of Health. “I also learned some new recipes and already cooked for my children. My children love ‘fish with porridge’ and ask to have it every day,” Ana continued.

The engagement of the Mother Support Group in preparing and developing the recipe book was instrumental in ensuring community participation and ownership.

Lack of information and common traditional practices often act as major factors in food preparation practices at the household level in Timor-Leste. According to the Timor-Leste Food and Nutrition Survey 2013, only 1 in 5 children 6-23 months are receiving the recommended minimum acceptable diet, though majority of its population (61.3%) had an acceptable Food Consumption Score (TLFNS, 2013).

The recipe book provides the much needed age specific information and presents various recipes which will enable parents and families to prepare nutritious food with low cost and locally available ingredients in the community.

Mother Support Group members are proudly using the Recipe book for cooking in various events.  
  ©UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/lfonseca
Developed under the partnership of the Ministry of Health, European Union and UNICEF Integrated Nutrition Project, the book provides guidance to mothers and families. The Primary Health Care Staff and Mother Support Groups will also use the recipe book to do cooking demonstrations in communities across the country. This book will act as a tool to promote healthy cooking practices.


-      By Veronica Correia , Communication for  Development Officer (Nutrition/Sanitation)
UNICEF Timor-Leste