When Tesh Potroz, the cook at Rainbow Early Childhood Centre in Stratford was told that she "wouldn't be able to get the Healthy Heart award" by a former manager, she decided to challenge herself.
Her drive and hard work were rewarded this month when Anne Berrie, the area's health promotion co-ordinator for the Heart Foundation, came to award the founding level Healthy Heart award.
Tesh has been the cook at Rainbow ECE for 3 years, before which she was at home with her three children: sons Shane, 13 and Kurtis, 7 and daughter Jaeda, 5. Tesh says it was having her own children that first got her interested in finding nutritious and healthy foods that children would eat and enjoy.
She says she found the process of working towards the Healthy Heart award "straightforward and simple" mainly because a lot of it was common sense. She cites examples that anyone can do such as "swapping white bread for wholemeal and cutting the amount of sugar in a recipe".
Tesh says the centre has focused on reducing the amount of processed food offered to the children, alongside developing a vegetable garden, "because when they are involved in growing their food they are more likely to try new things".
Tesh says many recipes can be easily adapted and she is able to do this at the centre because "all the baking can be done from scratch, which enables us to make it healthy".