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Cayman Parent | Articles | Expert Advice | Q & A | Healthy inspiration from Cayman’s food experts

Q & A | Healthy inspiration from Cayman’s food experts

Andrea Hill


Andrea is a Holistic Nutrition Educator and holds an MSc in Health & Nutrition Education.


What first inspired you to work in the field of nutrition?
I struggled with my own health and weight issues as a teenager and, from there, took an interest in learning how I could eat well and live a healthier lifestyle. My sister suggested going to school and making nutrition my career.

Have you seen an increase in clients wanting to switch to a healthier lifestyle recently?
Yes. There is, without question, a greater awareness about food quality today and a deeper desire to learn more about where the food we eat comes from.

Which three foods should be limited?
Gummy-type fruit snacks (not ‘real’ fruit), granola bars (glorified candy bars), and sugary cereals (unfulfilling and nutrient depleted foods). The common theme here is sugar of course, and most kids just eat too much of it.


Which three super foods should kids should try and introduce into their diet?
Hemp seeds, goji berries and sauerkraut.

How can we keep our children at a healthy weight?
Encourage fun and enjoyable physical activity! Children spend way too much time today in front of a screen. Not only does regular exercise support healthy weight but it can do wonders for children’s self-esteem and confidence.

Keep sugar out of the diet. Sugar adds calories and absolutely no nutritional value, and consuming it on a regular basis not only robs the body of energising B vitamins and essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, but it’s a fast track to weight gain.

Find a way to boost vegetables every day! Kids that fill up on refined white carbs and processed foods often don’t eat enough vegetables and are constantly hungry as a result. Besides the good-for-you nutrient boost, vegetables supply much needed fibre that helps to keep tummies happy and full.

Chad Collins

Chad is a dietician with over 20 years’ experience in nutrition counselling. He is the owner of Cayman Nutrition.


Who is your inspiration when it comes to healthy eating?
My children! Eating what you know is best for your goals and performance, taking the supplements that are right for you and following the advice of nutritional tests doesn’t happen magically. I do everything because I enjoy the many benefits it provides mentally and physically, so I can be the type of active and energetic Dad I want to be with my kids.

How can we keep our children at a healthy weight?
In addition to limiting high calorie treats, sugary drinks and deep fried and oily foods, try to regularly add a non-starchy vegetable to lunch and supper. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, sweet peppers or salads are all good examples. They help to fill kids up without adding many calories and are full of healthy vitamins and minerals.

What are important facts that we should know about sugars and high-fructose corn syrup?
Ultimately trying to choose more whole foods over processed packaged foods is one of the best ways to avoid unnecessarily added sugar. When choosing packaged foods, look at food labels for the amount of sugar listed, keeping in mind that every four grams is equal to one teaspoon of sugar. Also, ingredients in the nutritional information section are listed in descending order. If sugar is listed as the first ingredient in jam, for example, this means it contains more sugar than fruit.

Which three foods should children eat more of?
The first would be milk or a milk substitute like fortified almond, soy or coconut milk. These provide Calcium and Vitamin D, important when young for building strong bones containing adequate Calcium stores. Second would be wholegrain foods, like wholegrain bread, cereals and rice. Lastly, would be whole fruit and staying away from juices. Juicing removes all the healthy fiber that helps to make you feel fuller and keeps your digestive tract healthy.

Maureen Cubbon

Maureen is the Director of Bestlife Wellness & Culinary and is a Nutrition Educator and Chef.


Which locally-grown ingredients do you most enjoy cooking?
There are so many! But my top three are seasoning peppers, coconut and callaloo.

Name three foods that should be limited?
Rather than three specific foods, I would say minimise as much processed and high fat foods as possible. Read labels, understand ingredients and whenever possible, integrate high quality proteins and vegetables (preferably local as they pack the most nutritious punch).

How can we keep our children at a healthy weight?
Be a food advocate – read labels, ask questions, be aware of your food choices. Many of our food choices come from overseas so we have to be extra diligent to ensure we are getting the best quality for our budgets and bodies.

What are important facts that we should know about sugars and high-fructose corn syrup?
Too much sugar of any kind is dangerous and can lead to long-term health concerns and behavioural issues. There are a lot of studies that link HFCS to obesity and serious health issues, likely because it is completely artificial and has no nutritional value at all. I feel natural sources of unrefined and unprocessed sugars, in small doses, are okay but it all comes down to thinking about what and how we eat.

Who is your healthy eating inspiration?
The work of Jamie Oliver and the Global Food Revolution program has always inspired me. I was fortunate enough to become a volunteer ambassador for the programme representing Cayman and it has blossomed into wonderful school-based projects around healthy eating.

Which foods should our children eat more of?
Any leafy greens are always a good bet; they can be easily ‘hidden’ in sauces and don’t usually lose their nutrition content in the cooking process. Ground flax and seeds can also add great health benefits.

Tamara Whorms-Riley

Tamara is a Registered Dietician/Nutritionist and works for the Health Services Authority.


What efforts are the government making to educate children in Cayman about healthy eating?
There is the School Foods Standards, which has specific guidelines that must be followed by canteens when providing school breakfast and lunches. This programme educates students about the importance of healthy eating habits. Nutrition Education materials are also supplied to schools to help promote overall health and wellbeing. Children in most schools have taken part in nutrition classes which also promote physical activity. Approximately 1,000 skipping ropes have been distributed in schools through the Public Health Department.

What first inspired you to work in nutrition?
Nutrition is a major part of my life; I grew up in a large farming household with both parents involved in farming, so I learnt to appreciate food from a young age. I studied Food and Nutrition at school as well as Home Economics Management, where I realised there was much more to food than just eating.

Name three foods that should be limited?
Pizza, artificially flavoured packaged snacks and French fries. They all have two things in common: too much fat and sodium.

Which three super foods should kids eat more of?
Blackberries contain a large number of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, they are also high in Magnesium and Calcium. Cho-cho/chayote is high in vitamins C, K and B, along with folate which could help prevent cancer. Sweet Sop/Custard Apple is a great source of vitamin C. antioxidants and fibre.

Which is the most important meal of the day for a child?
Breakfast, as this meal helps our bodies to wake up in the morning, improves memory, concentration and energy levels, and gives the body essential nutrients to start the day. Breakfast also helps with weight control as it prevents us from over-eating later in the day.

Want to introduce healthy eating into your daily routine? Click here for some weekday meal planning!

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