Taking Lessons from TYO to the Dinner Table
For some, summer might seem like the perfect time for popsicles or ice cream to help you stay cool in the rising temperatures- and for others, it marks the start of Ramadan. But no matter how they plan to spend the season, TYO works to equip families with facts about healthy eating and nutrition to keep everyone safe and strong. Healthy eating has long been a pillar of TYO’s programs- our snack times only feature nutritious food, and we regularly raise the topics of eating right in our Core Program classes. However, with Ramadan fasting right around the corner and high heat days in Nablus, we spent some extra time this session talking with both moms and children about nutrition’s impact on brain development, and the need to stay well-fed and nourished while you're young.
Last week, I spoke with moms in The Women’s Group about the impact of fasting on children, specifically demonstrating the vital role of food and water on brain development in the early years. As I spoke with mothers, I discussed the importance of staying well-hydrated- particularly in the summer months- and some of the long-term harm that comes when food is withheld from kids. Most mothers were very surprised to hear of these harmful effects, and were grateful to have this new information about keeping your child’s growth on track. Children in Core Program also received similar information this summer session about making wise food decisions- learning how candy and soda don't help you grow strong, and cause you to lack the energy you need.
This information isn’t just timely for families in Palestine- but also, last month’s issue of the leading medical journal, The Lancet, focused a specific section just on maternal and child nutrition. It’s articles described the links between nutrition as a child and health outcomes as an adult, as well as some technical reports about how early childhood nutrition is related to building strong human capital in societies. This is the sort of data that we hope to translate into our programs at TYO, and empower both mothers and children with the sort of knowledge they need to make wise choices for their families.
So while this session ended last week, I hope these benefits will carry forward throughout the summer- and that the teachings about nutrition inside TYO's classrooms will become actions taken at the dinner table in Nablus homes!
Suhad Jabi Masri is TYO's Psychosocial Program Manager at TYO. Above, she discusses the importance of nutrition in early childhood development, and empowering moms to make healthy choices.