Served with Love: Nutrition interns prepare Iftar for children of Dar Al Aytam Al Islamiya

Some 30 children from Dar Al Aytam Al Islamiya were treated to a theme meal iftar prepared by the Nutrition and Dietetics Coordinated Program (CP) interns in the hospitality kitchen at the Adnan Kassar School of Business (AKSOB).

The event was organized in collaboration with the Department of Hospitality Management and Marketing at AKSOB.

The interns came up with the idea to organize an Iftar menu that is “healthy and filled with nutrients to teach children that tasty food doesn’t have to be ‘bad food’,” explained Sahar Mahmood, a CP senior with a minor in Food Science and Management.

Mahmood sees the benefit of such events going beyond merely an evening of fun and food, instilling a culture of healthy eating habits to combat child obesity.

“Children are the basis of our society and we need to teach them how to nourish their bodies. With obesity on the rise and all the related diseases it accompanies, an improved quality of life with a healthy diet that contains everything in moderation is a must,” she added. 

The preparations were made under the supervision of Associate Professor of Human Nutrition and CP Coordinator Maya Bassil and nutrition preceptors Sandra Karnaby, Joelle Abi Kharma, Marie Stephan and Cosette Fakih-El Khoury. Hospitality Lab Supervisor Georges Tamer oversaw the logistics of the event. 

Dr. Bassil described the event as a culturally appropriate program that seeks to promote health and wellbeing in the community.

Such initiatives help interns “develop and fulfill important skills and competencies that an entry-level dietitian should have, including leadership, communication and coordination skills, as well as responsible use of resources.”



Mahmood, who is doing her internship at LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital, said the menu was simple and traditional but with healthier substitutes and alternatives.

“For instance, we used brown rice to make Chicken Biryani and our signature dessert was based on dates and hummus with no sugar or flour added. We wanted to serve them with love,” she added.

In addition to having healthy food, the interns made sure the children engaged in fun activities such as singing, jumping rope, egg-in-spoon and hula-hoop competitions.

“Despite the fact that some of the children were fasting, they seemed excited and energized when they arrived,” Mahmood said.

For CP senior Vanessa Moussa, the event gave the children the chance to “go out, meet new people, play, and make memories.”

“By preparing such small activities or doing small acts, we can basically collaborate in changing the world and transforming it to a better place for all of us,” she added.