In a week when children’s obesity has been in the news again, along with more concerns about sugar levels, there is a lot to be said about ‘grow your own’ fruit and veg, whether it’s in the back garden, an allotment or even just some herbs or tomato plants on the window sill.
Being able to grow some veg or fruit with the kids – even good old Mr Potato Head with his cress hair – can surely help them to make the link between plants, animals and the food that we eat.
A new survey conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) highlighted that many children have a worrying lack of knowledge about where the meat and vegetables they eat come from. Conducted as part of the BNF’s healthy eating week, 27,500 children across the UK were asked about food and nutrition. Eighteen per cent of primary school children believed fish fingers came from chicken, while 29 per cent think cheese comes from plants and ten per cent of secondary school children believe tomatoes grow under the ground. So what’s going on?
My view is that in our world of ready meals and convenience food where the most exotic meal can be on the table in as long as it takes to ping a microwave, we have lost an understanding of how food is grown or where it is reared. Many adults simply do not know how food gets into the plastic wrapper in the supermarket so how can their children? Growing veg is something that farmers do, right?
We need to get back to basics, ditch the convenience food where possible (and as a working mum I know that it isn’t always that easy) and cook a bit more from scratch. And take five minutes to talk to our children about the cow in the field and how it gets to be mince or where eggs come from or how carrots and potatoes grow in the ground. If you don’t tell them, who is going to tell them?
We run the risk of having future generations who have cookery books galore and watch every celebrity chef, but know absolutely nothing about food.