Food education and eating well is now more important than ever. Around 35% of children are overweight or obese by the time they are going in to their sixth year of school (around 10 years of age). This percentage increases in older children and teenagers, and then further again as they reach adulthood.
In fact, 63% of adults in the UK are now either overweight or obese, and diet-related disease accounts for roughly £5 billion worth of NHS spending each year.
Looking at these statistics, the younger we can encourage and educate our kids on healthy eating and how to look after themselves, the better.
It’s for these reasons that the British Nutrition Foundation runs Healthy Eating Week every year. The primary goal is getting schools to support the health and wellbeing of their pupils, thereby raising awareness of the importance of healthy eating across the whole school. Schools involved are encouraged to run healthy-eating sessions, special assemblies, and cooking activities which offer a chance to taste new foods, explore where foods come from, and visit farms.
Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project
This is all stuff that we at Jamie Oliver are passionate about. Getting kids interested in both cooking and eating healthy food is right on the top of the agenda for Jamie, and the way he does this is through the work of Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project – an online community and teaching resource that supports UK primary schools in bringing food education and cooking skills to life. The project aims to provide children with what we believe to be some of life’s most valuable skills.
The Kitchen Garden Project’s resources have been created to offer schools the tools needed to make cooking and growing part of everyday life for kids, with the three areas of focus being cooking, growing, and nutrition. They’ve been designed simply, to help teachers easily structure and prepare lessons that meet the needs of a primary school class, whatever their age or ability. Each lesson, growing unit or fact sheet gives suggestions on how to link food with the wider curriculum, sparking ideas for full integration across all areas from maths lessons to geography!
We also have an online Kitchen Garden Project community, which allows us to make connections and establish relationships with schools, and schools to get in touch with each other to swap stories and tips.
Cooking at home
It’s not just through schools that we can make a difference to kids’ diets, however. With the launch of our brand new Family Food channel, we aim to provide parents at all stages with the tools required to feed a family well – no matter how busy they are.
Whether you’re in need of weaning ideas, have questions about nutrition for kids, or are simply wanting to make family mealtimes more exciting, Family Food is here to help. You’ll find tips, tricks, delicious recipes, handy videos, and all kinds of useful guides from our brilliant team of Family Foodies.
We also have loads of lovely recipes specially written for kids within our repertoire. We make sure that these recipes are super nutritious, keeping a special eye out for added salt and sugar and also making sure the portion control is in check.
So, this Healthy Eating Week, whether through your school or your home, get your youngsters interested in the important stuff – eating well, feeling well, and excited about doing it themselves.