All aboard for healthy eating

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RUNNING out of activities to keep the kids entertained? Wary of the havoc an afternoon’s cooking would cause in your kitchen?

Mums, dads and carers in East Renfrewshire need look no further than Kirkhill primary school, this week playing host to the national touring Cooking Bus.

A Scottish government-funded programme, the bus is run by the Focus on Food Campaign, and is aimed at teaching youngsters to cook healthy and nutritious food from an early age.

The bus will be in residence at the Newton Mearns primary school from Monday until Thursday, with the Mearns After-School Care Service (MACS) heading along – and the rest of the community invited to follow.

Shona Robison, Scottish minister for public health, said: “The Cooking Bus is a fantastic way to teach children some of the basics about where our food comes fom and how to cook healthy, tasty meals.

“Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated and that will be an important lesson for the young chefs on the bus”.

A hi-tech lorry which opens out into a practical learning space, the bus itself is a colourful kitchen run by advisory teacher Susan Blackwell, who plans a programme of events based on the age of the children involved.

Lydia Wilkie, assistant director of the Food Standards Agency Scotland – which part-funds the bus – added: “Many children have never cracked an egg or cut a tomato.

“The bus provides pupils with a unique opportunity to take part in a hands on cooking session, and approaches the teaching of nutrition and healthy eating in accordance with the curriculum for excellence”.

Regardless of what’s on the menu, children involved in the East Ren after-school service – also operating during the summer holidays – are anxious to get stuck into some healthy recipes.

Elaine Croll, of MACS, told The Extra: “We’ve had lots of parents and children signing up, excited to see what new menus and ideas they can create using healthy options.

“Our staff who don’t work during the school holidays are even coming along with their own children to share the experience. It should be a great week for all”.

There are limited spaces for each session, but anyone interested in bringing their own budding chefs along can be added to the list by calling 887 0002 or emailing