Pre-school centres in Singapore are shifting towards a central kitchen approach. Read on...
As many as 29 childcare centres in Singapore have adopted the new central kitchen approach. Which means that, children and staff at these centres are now fed by a central kitchen.
According to The Straits Times, the food for these centres is prepared at Sats Catering and delivered to the pre-schools before meal times. The move comes as a welcome respite to many pre-schools in Singapore grappling with shortage of cooks and kitchen staff.
Advantages of the central kitchen approach
This new catering service was developed by the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services (Assets), in conjunction with the Employment and Employability Institute.
The efforts come under the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme, which encourages small and medium-sized enterprises to be more manpower-lean through constant innovation, and automation of certain processes.
Here are some promising features of the central kitchen approach:
- Eases the staff crunch: Earlier, cooks in childcare centres had a tough job; they had to plan the menu, buy groceries, serve meals and wash the dishes for no less than 100 children and 20 adults. As a result, the job had very few takers, with many choosing to quit.
- No doubling up as cooks for teachers: Some infant care assistants ended up doubling as cooks, this not only took up most of their time, but also gave them less time to care for the children.
- Happy children: The response so far has been positive, with most kids liking the taste and variety of food.
- Happier parents: Healthier food, and more time and energy for teachers to devote to the children. Parents are relieved.
- Cost saving: There is an overall saving in cost for the childcare centre operators. So it seems to be a win-win for all.
Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say, visited one of the childcare centres which has adopted this scheme, and observed the meal catering service. He came away impressed. He hopes more childcare centres would join this new scheme.
Making sure your child eats healthy
A healthy diet is essential to your child's growth and development, and keeps him alert and energetic to cope up with his daily challenges. Here are some ways to promote healthy eating habits in your child:
- Make a schedule: Make sure you follow proper meal times and snack times. Once you work out your schedule, you will find that your child's diet will be much more balanced, and he'll be less cranky.
- Plan balanced meals: Ensure that every meal comprises of food from each of these food groups: Carbohydrates (rice, pasta, noodles, bread), proteins (milk, fish, egg, tofu), vitamins and minerals (fruits and vegetables). And never skip breakfast.
- Minimise sugar and salt: Sugar and salt should be minimised as far as possible. These are taste enhancers, and don't really offer much nutritional benefit.
- Cut down on junk: Anything that is forbidden instantly becomes more appealing. So, rather than ban junk food in the house, a better approach would be to let the kids have their treats on special occasions. That way, they won't complain of a 'deprived' childhood either.
- Stop when you are full: It's great if your kid can finish all the food on his plate, but it is also important for him to realise when he feels full. Encourage him to stop the moment he feels he has had enough. Making him eat when he is no longer hungry can lead to unhealthy overeating habits later on in life.
- Set a good example: Your children are always watching you, so make sure that you walk the talk. Refrain from hogging on junk food and soft drinks, or starving yourself to lose weight. Children would grow up believing such behaviour was normal.
(Source: The Straits Times)
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