Kids Around the World: My Favorite Foods

Food! It’s part of our daily life and directly impacts our quality of life. The essential vitamins and minerals found in healthful fruits and vegetables allow our bodies to grow strong physically and mentally. They give us energy to learn, work, play and fight disease.

What we eat says a lot about our culture too. The diverse foods that adorn the tables of children around the world range from injera in Ethiopia to arepas in Colombia, from pupusas in El Salvador to adobo in the Philippines. What are one child’s favorite foods may be unheard of to another child!

So we thought we’d ask some children who attend Compassion child development centers …

What are your favorite foods to eat?

Here’s what they had to share.

Jane in Kenya: Mchicha

Girl wearing a red, gold, and white patterned dress. She is kneeling down in her garden and is holding a blue bucket of water.

Jane in Kenya helps her family grow mchicha (also called amaranth) in their garden. The relatively new spinachlike leafy green is considered a superfood and is now harvested abundantly in Kenya and Tanzania. “It is good food for my body and very easy to plant,” Jane explains.

Josué in El Salvador: Pupusas

Boy wearing a blue shirt with white collar and the background is a blue wall of the kitchen’s front.

Compassion child development centers encourage children to eat healthful vegetables by incorporating them into their favorite traditional meals. In El Salvador, children like 6-year-old Josué enjoy pupusas stuffed with shredded carrots, squash and other green leaves that contain iron.

RECIPE: Bean and Cheese Pupusas

Angel in the Philippines: Buchi

Angel, in a gray shirt holds and looks at a white and blue plate of “buchi-buchi” in front of her. There is a fork on the plate.

Angel in the Philippines holds a plate of buchi, which is a rice snack. Her mother cooks and sells it to help provide for her children, but it’s also one of Angel’s favorite foods.

Yomel in Peru: Salad and Potatoes

Yomel is wearing a blue sweater. He is sitting at a table inside his home and is eating a salad and potatoes.

In Peru, Yomel eats a plate of salad and potatoes. His family grew the vegetables at their home with seeds they received from Yomel’s child development center.

Theresa in Sri Lanka: Dosai

Theresa is wearing a colorfully patterned dress. She is sitting down at a table with a plate of food in front of her. The meal for the day included dosai, lentils curry and coconut chutney, most of the children’s favorite dish.

Children registered in our program typically get a healthful meal or snack each time they attend activities at their child development centers. Theresa in Sri Lanka sits down at her local center to one of her favorite meals: “dosai” (a thin pancake made from a fermented batter of lentils and rice), lentil curry and coconut chutney.

Leach and Moses in Kenya: Chapati

Leach and Moses are seen here helping to make Chapati, one of their favorite foods. They are looking up at the camera and smiling.

In Kenya, Leach and Moses help make “chapati,” which is a flatbread typically served for special occasions like Christmas. Leach shares, “My favorite meal is chapati, and the best part about it is that we all help in its preparation.”

Marcos in Colombia: Spaghetti

Marcos, wearing a white shirt, is eating spaghetti. He is sitting at a table and is holding a blue cup.

Sometimes a child’s favorite meal isn’t necessarily traditional to their country. Marcos in Colombia eats spaghetti at his child development center. The center director, Martha, says that it’s one of the children’s favorite foods. “They always want another portion,” she explains. “Some of them come to my office to ask for another serving of food, and I always say yes.”

Axel in Honduras: Red Beans With Sour Cream

Axel is wearing a light blue and white soccer jersey and black shorts. He is sitting in his house’s doorway eating red beans with sour cream, which is one of his favorite foods. There is a fence beside the home.

Axel eats a bowl of red beans with sour cream in front of his home in Honduras. It’s one of his favorite foods. “I also like my mother’s spaghetti and the center’s stewed chicken and rice,” he says.

Nutrition: Why It’s Important

Despite how important it is to eat a balanced diet, at least 1 in 3 children under 5 worldwide is undernourished or overweight. In 2018, almost 200 million children under age 5 suffered from stunting or wasting. Malnutrition underlies 45% of deaths in children of the same age.

The greatest burden of all forms of malnutrition is shouldered by children and young people from the poorest and most marginalized communities. That’s why Compassion’s local church partners strive to supplement children’s nutrition so they can not only survive, but thrive.

International reporting and photography by Odessa B, Nora Diaz, Edwin Estioko, Lina Marcela Alarcón Molina, Isaac Ogila, Kevin Ouma, Juana Ordonez Martinez and Fernando Sinacay.

Odette asks you to pray for Burkina Faso children, sponsors and staff

3 Comments |Add a comment

  1. JW Worcester June 4, 2021

    Not just food – but good food. Maybe some of these foods we could use in America.

  2. Christine A Waters May 29, 2021

    I love hearing from the children. Their jokes and hearing about their favorite meals are refreshing to me. I’m so glad you are sharing this portion of their lives with me. Keep the refreshing news coming 🙂 .

    1. Jesse June 1, 2021

      Hello Christine! Thank you for your kind words. I agree – the letter writing aspect of sponsorship is so refreshing! As a sponsor myself, I love hearing from my kiddos too and I especially love hearing about their lives and favorite foods! It is such a wonderful experience to see life through their eyes! Happy Tuesday! 💙

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