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Children & Food

Back in 2005 Jamie Oliver launched his campaign to improve school dinners. Sadly it didn’t have the results he hoped for despite his efforts and the power of national television.

Grandson Harvesting Leeks

My Grandson Harvesting Leeks

One of the episodes, if I recall correctly, had a class of children failing to recognise common vegetables. In fact most of the kids thought food came from McDonalds or the kebab shop.

Grandson Eating a Carrot

Nearly as good as chocolate, a sweet, freshly-pulled carrot

The kids, not surprisingly, preferred junk food to proper food. That’s understandable – children learn their tastes. Given the choice they’ll live on chocolate and chips.

It’s the job of the parents to educate their tastes towards a healthier diet. Yet the reaction of some parents was to smuggle in food parcels to their poor suffering offspring. It’s no wonder that we have increasing rates of childhood obesity and for the first time we’re seeing children who are unlikely to live as long as their parents.

Well I’m happy to say my six year old grandson isn’t going down that slope. He loves sweets and chocolates as much as the next child but he accepts he can’t have as many as he’d like. At the same time he knows where his food comes from, from seed to table. Because he gets a varied diet, he’s willing to try new foods and enjoys his vegetables.

As you can see one of his favourites is a freshly-pulled, sweet carrot. In the summer he’s in the greenhouse enjoying tomatoes straight from the vine along with a cucumber. He’ll happily munch his way through a cucumber on a hot day.

Vegetables for the Stew

Carrots Potatoes Parsnip Swede

Carrots Potatoes Parsnip and Swedes from the plot

Grandson came over with his mum last week and they pulled some carrots from the polytunnel, a couple of parsnips and small swedes from outside along with some potatoes from the store.

Grandson Cooking

My Grandson Cooking – note the special knife and guard to keep his fingers intact.

His mum helped by peeling the potatoes and parsnip. Making this created an opportunity for a lesson in cookery and maths. Weighing ingredients, measuring water and so forth.

He chopped the vegetables himself. He’s got a sharp knife with a special handle that means his fingers don’t get in the way, even if the knife slips.

To protect his other hand, there’s another clever gadget that keeps little fingers safely out of the way.

I’ve no doubt he’ll eat pretty healthily all his life, that’s normal for him. And hopefully to a ripe old age.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
6 comments on “Children & Food
  1. Rowland Wells says:

    I couldn’t agree more with what your saying John and I’m glad to see your getting your priorities rite for your grandson as far as eating and preparing good health foods

    I’ve never been in favour of any of our kids eating junk food and they where always brought up to eat good healthy food that was put on the table as for the next generation most of my six grandchildren have mixed tastes some like all veg, some are picky. And chips have seemed to take over from mash and fast foods for a fast life if folks when back to cooking traditional foods most of the fast food shops would close and despite all efforts by some people to get our kinds back onto healthy eating I think its going to be an uphill struggle that mite not happen

    I can remember when my wife cooked a lovely pumpkin and apple pie from a recipe given to her by an old lady who was a good old fashioned cook our kids began to eat the pie the plates where almost clean until one the girls said what’s this pie made of besides apples when the wife replied pumpkin there was a quick exit from the dinner table to the bathroom pumpkin pie was never again on the menu anyway a good topic John well worth reading

  2. Gwyn Evans says:

    Since the new year I have been on a mostly veg diet, I have oats with fruit for breakfast and veg soup with no potatoes during the day, in the evening I have a stir fry, I have had no meat or fish, bread, potato’s during this time and I feel great and lost weight, I do miss meat as I was a massive meat, bread, dairy products eater, I will probably eat all these again eventually , but I proved to myself I could live without meat, its pressure from others that push me into eating meat from time to time, its very hard to break a habit of a life time.

    • John Harrison says:

      I’ve been on a diet since end November myself, Gwyn. Lost 2 stone so far and feel better for it. Mainly by reduced portion size, eating slowly and avoiding too many carbs. Cheese is the only thing I’m missing. I could eat far too much cheese.
      Worth reading the nutrition info on things – one little fig roll biscuit.. 84 calories!
      Val ran a vegetarian cafe back in the day – so we often eat a veggie or vegan meal. Not to avoid meat but because meat doesn’t work with the dish.
      Tonight I’ll be eating a large portion of fish with calabrese and cauliflower in a slightly cheesey sauce. Low in calories, but filling and balancing other meals today.
      If you go to the NHS site you can calculate your BMI and get a recommendation as to how many calories you should eat if you need to lose weight.
      https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/

  3. Alyson Laydon says:

    I’m sure when I was a child late 50s , 1960s, we only really got sweets on Saturday. Partly due to parents not having a lot of available cash I’m sure. Apart from those who are seriously deprived and need foodbanks and such, many others have lots of available cash and maybe spoiling the kids is the problem. Just a thought.

  4. Tony Barrett says:

    I have always eaten meat fish and dairy but since I had an allotment I am eating more veg – it is almost free! However when I went to the doctors last year for annual blood test it was discovered I was lacking in vitamin B12. It is only available from meat fish and dairy and it is difficult for the gut to absorb it. I now have to have injections of it.
    Yes there are other factors but beware of reducing protein without supplements.

  5. Lyn Benson says:

    My 3 year old grandson loves selecting food from my garden (and hedgerows) and last autumn he especially loved looking for mushrooms in the field, and shucking corn cobs to cook for lunch. Presently only kale is left outside but I look forward to sowing seeds together over the next few weeks!

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