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Quinte Mohawk Nutrition Program teaches children long-term skills

By Rebecca Bartlett [1]

BELLEVILLE – Reta Brant spends her days cooking healthy meals for children at Quinte Mohawk School [2] and teaching them proper nutrition.

Brant started the Quinte Mohawk School Nutrition Program [3] eight years ago. She comes from a family of 11 and had one sister who passed away at the age of 52, and said she herself has diabetes. Brant says her goal with the program is to hopefully help children avoid facing these same issues and other health problems.

I just thought if they learned how to do it from the time that they were small, and they got into that habit, that they’d be able to keep on going and learn how to do it properly so that they wouldn’t end up in the same position that we’re in,” said Brant

Since Brant started this program from personal experiences, she is very dedicated to the nutrition program.

“I’m only at the school 5 days a week, Monday to Friday, but I prep for Monday on Sunday, I grocery shop on Saturdays, so it’s like 7 days a week,” Brant said. “My hours are supposed to be 8 o’clock until 4, but I mean there’s a lot more hours you have to put in because you have to be able to have your stuff prepped for the next day. So I’ve seen myself there until maybe 9 o’clock at night.”

Brant calls herself a ‘nutrition cooker’ so it’s all about getting the children to eat their vegetables.

“I make sure they get their vegetables in and if they don’t like them raw, then I puree them and put them in their food,” Brant said.

She said that all of the children love to be able to help her in the kitchen. Brant said that some days the children can come in and cook, other days they help serve and other days they just come in and watch what’s going on.

Although Brant said she loves cooking, that isn’t her favourite part of the job. It’s working with the children.

“I find it so rewarding. When I walk down that hallway in the daytime and I get little hugs from little people, or they’re always calling other people my name. Right now I’m off due to a few family problems and they are asking, ‘Where is Ms. Reta?’ ‘Why isn’t she here?’ So little things like that really do make it worthwhile,” said Brant.

QNet News has reached out to Quinte Mohawk School to talk to the principal and children who benefit from the program.

More to come.