Would it shock you to learn that one in five kids start school in the UK overweight or obese? What’s worse is that by the final year of primary school that figure goes up to one in three.
It’s not a great start for our children. So who should take responsibility for this? Food companies? The Government? Parents?
Organic toddler and baby food company Organix, is taking everyone to task by launching the ‘No Junk Challenge’ this week from 28 April – 4 May.
Anna Rosier, Managing Director of Organix, says “We know that parents want to give their children good, healthy and nutritious food, but it’s not always easy to make good food choices. Children are targeted with foods that are often high in salt, fat and sugar and it feels like you need a special qualification to understand all the ingredients and E numbers on the back of the packet.
“We are launching the No Junk Challenge to help parents with advice on how to read the ingredients, to identify the dirty dozen, as well as providing fun activities to show parents what is in the food, and simple recipes to try out at home.
“We are also calling for the Government and the food industry to do their part. We need regulation and clear easy to understand labelling that will help parents choose the best for their children. So we’re calling on parents to sign up to the No Junk Pledge.”
Facts about children’s food
Nearly half of the best-selling brands are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS)
Breakfast cereals aimed at children can contain as much as 37g of sugar per 100g
Children’s food brands making health claims are found to be higher in salt, fat and sugar
Artificial additives are widely used to disguise cheap ingredients
Advice from the Feeding Boys Kitchen…
Cooking from scratch
I cook from scratch as much as I can which is a good start, but lucky for me I work from home so have more time to fiddle about in the kitchen. Not everyone has that luxury.
If you can try cooking from scratch when you do have time in big batches. Fill the freezer with family staples like bolognese sauce, fish pie, curry and stews. It feels like a big effort at the time, but saves you money and gives you peace of mind from a nutritional point of view.
Get kids cooking
Get your children interested in cooking, let them get their hands on healthy ingredients so that when they grow up they won’t rely on convenience food alone. Giving a child the confidence to cook a meal is an essential life skill and a powerful gift.
Look at those labels!
When it comes to pre-prepared foods we need to look closer at the ingredients listed on food packaging. Do you know what they all are? I have to admit i’m not always that careful, but now i’ve signed the pledge i’m going to make much more of an effort. Make it your business to find out too.
What’s for tea?
I’ll leave you with a no junk friendly recipe from brilliant blogger Holly Bell who writes Recipes From A Normal Mum and is supporting this campaign.
It’s proof that scratch cooked meals don’t have to be a faff, and also when you put food on sticks it gives it instant kid appeal! We inherited a gas BBQ last year which makes meals like this far more accessible than waiting around for the coals to heat up.
We served it with heaps of fresh carrot, pepper, cucumber and celery chopped into sticks and a pot of hummus. For the vegetarian in the family I used halloumi cheese instead of sausage and reduced the cooking time.
Bangers and Mash On A Stick
Recipe by Holly Bell
All you need is:
8 sausages (good quality – check the ingredients!)
32 small potatoes (e.g. Charlotte)
2 normal onions, peeled, cut into quarters and then each layer separated
2 tsp of mustard
2 tbsp rapeseed oil or groundnut or sunflower, just not olive (I used toasted sesame oil)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (white would do too)
Ground black pepper
All you do is:
1. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them for at least a couple of hours (overnight if poss) in water. Metal skewers need no prep at all.
2. Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain. Try and make sure they’re all the same size – if they’re not, cut them. Cut the sausages into thirds and then start to thread the skewers with 3 bits of sausage, 4 potatoes and 4 bits of onion – alternating them as you go.
3. Make the marinade by whisking together the oil, vinegar, mustard and black pepper. Pop the kebabs on a plate or tray, brush with the marinade and leave for an hour or as long as you have until the coals are ready.
4. Cook on the BBQ until the sausages are cooked through. These took about 20 minutes to get each side charred and no longer a food poisoning threat.
Copyright ©2014 Recipes from a Normal Mum.
- Watch the video and sign the pledge – www.organix.com/nojunk
- Pay attention to ingredients in food
- Say yes to healthy and natural delicious food
- Join the conversation #nojunk
Disclosure: I have been compensated for time spent cooking, styling and photographing this recipe and writing this blog post. All views are my own and I whole-heartedly support this important message to feed our children a healthy diet and hope you do too.