News Releases

Bake up a food revolution

For Release Upon Receipt - December 8, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. December 8, 2015– How to start a food revolution in the Caribbean? Host a bake-off for parents and children and give them ways to take the lessons home. 

The University of the West Indies Children’s Centre, operating at a pre-school level, recently hosted an All Natural Cake/Bake Off Competition with Recipes at its Healthy Bites Fiesta. It was part of their campaign to inform and empower people to move towards a healthy food culture using locally grown foods. 

The dishes included both sweet and savoury baked items and parents were impressed by the wide array of natural foods and were happy to get ideas for healthy meals. One mother commented “I always struggle with meal planning and this event gave me some nutritious options that taste great.”  

Sweet potato was a big star of the show, turning up in savoury and sweet flavours that were sometimes surprising. There was moist banana walnut bread, butternut squash chocolate brownies, artfully decorated to look like reindeer with pretzels for antlers, attractively presented complete with a billboard giving both the recipe and photos of the preparation; fruit and nut muffins, pasta salads, dishes from India, like Bhakarwadi (spicy pinwheels); crushed yams delicately done, and much more, all staying true to the idea of healthy eating.  

Research has shown that healthy eating contributes to an overall sense of well-being, and is a cornerstone in the prevention of a number of conditions. Prevalent in the Trinidad and Tobago population are many of them, like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, dental caries and asthma. For children and younger people, healthy eating is particularly important for healthy growth and cognitive development. Eating behaviours adopted during this period are likely to be maintained into adulthood, underscoring the importance of encouraging healthy eating as early as possible.  

In addition to being a major contributing factor to many diseases, an unhealthy diet with an inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases and several cancers. Also, excessive energy intake leads to overweight and obesity, which is linked with a range of health problems, including diabetes. The WHO estimates that 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. This Food Revolution campaign is geared towards changing this trend from the ground up – from pre-school to the home and business.  

This Food Revolution in the Caribbean – Encouraging Healthy Eating and Healthy Lifestyles was rolled out in October and involved parents as partners from the get-go. Teachers and parents were part of a team of professionals that included doctors, nutritionists, dietitians and coaches. By World Food Day, 16 October 2015, the campaign invited the Food and Agriculture Department at The UWI to make a presentation under the theme Social Protection and Agriculture. The school also received a donation of 100 tomato seedling plants from a parent for children at the Centre and this was soon followed by the hosting of this Natural Cake/Bake Off Competition with Recipes on 2 December, 2015. Next to come, a Facebook network about healthy local foods, menus, and activities. 



About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)