Mrs. Obama is the spirit behind Let’s Move! a campaign to bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide effort to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity. Let’s Move! has an important, albeit ambitious, goal: “to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation”. Towards this end, its Chefs Move to Schools program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture effort, has chefs across America contributing their knowledge and talent to schools. Responding to Mrs. Obama’s call, IFANCA, too, is doing its share to deliver on the campaigns goals.

“Like many Americans, we at IFANCA have been inspired by our First Lady, Michelle Obama, and her work towards healthy eating. We’ve launched a Halal and Nutrition Workshop Series for 2012 that will take the movement to mosques and community centers,” says Maria Omar, Director, Media Outreach at IFANCA. In this series, IFANCA is partnering with Yvonne Maffei founder of My Halal Kitchen who will conduct a cooking demonstration as part of a fun, interactive workshop on understanding nutritional information, and making healthier everyday food choices. “Given the hectic pace of our lives, it’s easy to overlook our diet and eating habits. We hope to contribute towards lowering childhood obesity levels and later diseases, such as high blood-pressure and diabetes, by teaching our community how to eat a healthier and halal lifestyle,” said Ms. Omar. “We’ve had a very good response. I even got a call today from Washington DC about doing something like this over there!”

Most of us know which foods are healthy but are often overwhelmed as to how to easily incorporate them in our daily life,” says Asma Ahad, Director of Halal Market Development at IFANCA who will be presenting the workshop with Yvonne Maffei. Asma has over 13 years of experience in the food industry. “These workshops are intended to take the mystery out of food labels, understanding nutritional values and ingredients.”

The PTA at College Preparatory School of America (CPSA) was hosted the inaugural workshop for their school parents. “All the parents, myself included, thought the workshop was very informative, and educational. We learned about ingredients and serving sizes, how whey can be vegetarian or non vegetarian. We also enjoyed Yvonne’s 7 layer dip,” said Ms. Lubna Zaffer, a PTA representative.

Mrs. Akhtar Khan, Principal, Masjid Al-Huda Islamic School echoes these sentiments. Their workshop was conducted on March 4, 2012. “This workshop will enable Al-Huda students to make the right choices about eating right,” says Mrs. Khan.

“Insha-Allah (God willing), I will be contacting you for next year’s program – one for parents and another for students from nearby Sunday Schools. Your program is a really important one,” added Mr. Nazir Razvi, Director, Masjid Al-Huda Islamic School.

The Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park, IL elected to bring the workshop to their campus on April 10th, 2012 for an audience of 60 students, in grades 5 and 6. Like the other schools, this is their first ever dietary workshop. “We’re looking forward to the workshops to (help) students stay abreast of health issues,” says Administrator, Mrs. Aliya Husain.

To schedule a workshop or if you have questions, contact to reach IFANCA’s Director for Community Services, Dr. Farhat Quadri.


Upcoming Workshops:

1. May 19
ICNA Sisters Wing, Chicago (Details TBD)

2. June 5 | 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Masjid Dawah, Chicago