Monthly Archives: May 2013

“A national obesity obsession definitely isn’t healthy. A national nutrition obsession could be invaluable.”

Let's Get Cooking at work in communities

Yesterday, we had the fantastic news that the Big Lottery Fund has awarded us £3.6m to continue building the work of our Let’s Get Cooking programme.

In this guest blog for the Big Lottery Fund, our Chief Executive, Linda Cregan, explains why the skills Let’s Get Cooking passes on have such a part to play in addressing a nutrition recession:_MG_7457

If we really want to get serious about reducing the number of children who aren’t getting the nutrition they need because of food poverty, we need to invest in the things that really help.”

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To hide… or not to hide

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Earlier this year I spoke at the Children’s Food Trust’s annual conference and the (perennial) question of whether or not to hide veg in children’s food came up. This spills over into the wider debate of the role of ‘appearance’ when it comes to children’s food: just how much should we be PR’ing the role of fruit and (in particular) veg?

To be honest, I’m very much of the belief that the most important thing is getting our kids to eat (more of) their 5-a-day (whether or not they realise what they’re eating). This is purely from a nutritional viewpoint. Of course, I’d rather kids enjoyed rather than endured their veg (or had it hidden in their food ) but (frankly) if their palate has been used to sugar and salt from the get-go, it’s incredibly hard to get them enjoying fruit and veg off their own backs – unless there’s support at home. And sadly, this isn’t always forthcoming.

That said, cookery in school does help. Hugely. So don’t be disheartened if what you have prepared for them to cook one week doesn’t go down too well at the tasting part. Just give it time.

Newsflash: Kids eat with their ears, eyes and head. If they don’t like the look or sound of something, they probably won’t eat it. My Popeyes’s Pesto (with olive oil!) sounds so much more appealing (I think) than Spinach Pesto. So do get creative with what you call your dishes.

Likewise, if you’re making sandwiches, never underestimate the power of a cookie cutter. Try carrot, hummus and sultanas as a Middle Eastern idea – or cream cheese and blueberries for an all-American sandwich.

Finally I simply had to share two of my favourite recipes….

My Mr Lion Lunch and Under the Sea Mr Crab Baked Potato.

Mr Lion Lunch         Mr Crab

They may not be cool enough for the glossy food mags – but kids just love ‘em!

Enjoy!

F.x

Fiona Faulkner is a mum, broadcaster and author of the book ‘25 Foods your kids hate…and how to get them eating 24‘. She’s working with us on our Take Two campaign to get every child eating at least two portions of fruit and veg during lunchtime at school.

Twitter for @cookingclubs #getinvolved

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Ever had to tell someone you’re not on Facebook OR Twitter and feel like you’ve sprouted two heads judging by the puzzled look you get?

For the 33 million Facebook users, 34 million Twitter tweeters and the 11 million people signed up to LinkedIn in the UK alone, social media is such a big part of every day life, the thought of even 24 hours without it probably sends a shiver down their spine…me included!

But don’t be put off. Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, the right social media channel can actually create shortcuts to help your cooking club grow.
Joining the Twittersphere is a good place to start. It’s completely free and so simple to set up. You simply create an account (Twitter walks you through this process), search for and follow people you are interested in and, if they like you, they follow you back. Messages (tweets) are restricted to just 140 characters so it’s quick and easy to start a conversation and means you won’t spend hours planning content.

Twitter can open a whole load of exciting virtual windows for cooking clubs.  It can help you….

1.    Make a name for yourself and establish your club in your local community – it could lead to all sorts of exciting new ventures, like businesses who might love what you’re doing and agree to sponsor you for new equipment.

2.    Connect with local suppliers who can help you with deals on ingredients – it could save you money and also lead to club visits (particularly fun if you hook up with your farming community!) donations or even guest speakers who can join you for cooking sessions.

3.    Promote your events so even more people turn up – local media are also interested in hearing about what schools and clubs are doing to help children and families live healthy lifestyles.

4.    Create a personality for your club – if you’ve seen something that’s made you laugh or smile, or even an interesting news story or new research about children’s health, pass it on to your followers by tweeting the link.

5.    Connect with parents, family members and friends of the school who may love cooking at home or would like to learn new cooking skills too – you may find some new volunteers to help out at events and club sessions.

6.    Make friends with fellow foodies, like local restaurateurs, chefs, and other cooking clubs – seeing what they’re up to can give you new recipe and activity ideas. You can even tweet them for advice on how to follow in their footsteps.

7.    Share recipes, advice on healthy eating and tips for cooking to help others get cooking affordable and nutritious meals in your wider community.

The thing to remember is that followers don’t just appear overnight. It can take time to build up your following so try and see each new one as a virtual high-five and watch it grow as you learn. Don’t forget to:
•    Promote your club’s Twitter name in the school newsletter, on the website and wherever you can
•    Follow us! @Childfoodtrust using the #LetsGetCooking hashtag

Sarah is our Media and PR Support Officer. Email Sarah.