Nutrition and the Rwanda Diet

Last week, The Women’s Bakery started training for 15 women in Remera, with two groups of women (one from Remera; one from Kanombe; both areas of Kigali). On last Friday and continuing this Wednesday, our training team taught three sessions within our nutrition curriculum content. These included nutrition specifics, building a balanced diet, and various food types. From these lesson deliveries, I learned that understanding the cultural practices behind food and nutrition is complex.

From baseline data collected at the beginning of our program two weeks ago, we better understand the context for nutrition that we are working with. Specifically, we learned that out of 15 women the average number of meals per day per woman is 1.6; the average time eating meat per week is 0; and the average time eating eggs per week is 0. Data of this nature leaves us to question whether financial or educational constraints or both are inhibiting factors to accessing a balanced diet.

However, our nutritional lesson training was encouraging! Some of the concepts from the training had an impact not just on me, but hopefully on the women as well.

1) Understanding the difference between saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats is essential in the Rwanda diet. Where French fries and fried dough are coveted food items, educating our group on choosing unsaturated fat such as avocados or plant oils over trans fats and saturated fats was a huge win.

2) Discussing the difference in nutritional value between juice and raw fruit allowed the women to understand that fiber and other nutrients remained in raw fruit and choosing fruit over juice is always a better option.

3) And, understanding that you can gain protein from other sources other than meat such as soy, groundnuts, and egg was essential.

We are excited to keep working through our nutrition education with the women and can’t wait to see what they have to say about the nutrition in our bread recipes!