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A Flavourful Journey Bringing Innovation in Healthy and Nutritious South Asian Cuisine

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Written by: Wanja Nyaga

Reviewed by: Kichelle Williams-Robinson and Matheus Abrantes

Key Contributors and Presenters for the Day: Sumantra Ray, Kantesh Chowdhury, Wanja Nyaga, Sarah Armes, Sucheta Mitra, Matheus Abrantes and Pauline Douglas

In today's world, it can be difficult to make healthy choices about what to eat, and it's easy to get caught up in unhealthy habits with the rise in the availability of convenient, fast foods. Due to this, it is important for individuals and families to learn about nutrition and how to cook healthy and affordable meals.

A culinary nutrition education workshop is a great way to do both. These workshops teach participants about the basics of nutrition, as well as how to prepare healthy and delicious meals. During the NNEdPro Mobile Teaching Kitchen (MTK) Culinary Nutrition Workshop held on 8th November in Dundee, Scotland, the participants learned about different food groups, how to read food labels, and how to make healthy swaps in the recipes and the nutrient profiles for each dish.

To start us off, on the day participants had the superfood millet salad (savoury) and millet upma (sweet) prepared by NNEdPro’s Executive Chef Kantesh Chowdhury. The millet-based dishes were inspired by the U.N. General Assembly recent adoption. The FAO/UN resolution, sponsored by India and supported by more than 70 countries, declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The resolution is intended to increase public awareness on the health benefits of millets and their suitability for cultivation under tough conditions marked by climate change. The workshop was hosted by Kichelle, and it featured a combination of cooking sessions led by Kantesh and nutrition education sessions led by NNEdPro nutritionists Professor Sumantra Ray and Wanja Nyaga. Examples of dishes prepared by the culinary faculty and students include Wholesome Vegetable Pulao, Tantalising Egg Kosha, Mellow Mixed Daal, Zesty Tomato Salad and the Soulful Gajar Halwa.

Some of the other topics shared include Nutritional Analysis of Recipes by Sarah Armes, Food-based Microenterprise by Matheus Abrantes, Importance of Healthy Hydration by Prof Pauline Douglas and Innovation in Scottish Food Security by Prof Alex Johnstone and Dr Marta Lonnie from the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen. The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Dr David Cameron shared his message of support for the event and NNEdPro’s aim; To tackle the global crisis of malnutrition (in all its forms) by conducting research and delivering education in gap areas, empowering professionals, policymakers and the public; to facilitate sustainable improvements in nutrition and health behaviours, accelerating progress towards the United Nations 2030 goals.

All participants enjoyed preparing the nutritious dishes and completed taste testing proformas and Evaluation Questionnaires at the start and end of the session. This culinary nutrition education workshop serves as a template for the collaborations that NNEdPro hopes to form with colleges within the UK regional network and hopefully in other global networks.

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