Gold star to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

With more than a third of London’s 11 year olds overweight the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is launching a £600,000 project called ‘Healthy Schools London’. This will recognise schools that are tackling obesity; it will give them monetary rewards if they provide healthy lunches and encourage children to exercise. I wish some of our New Zealand politicians would do the same; first however they need to recognise and acknowledge we have a problem, something they seem incredibly loathe to do!!! Continue reading

GOLD STAR to Michael Gove MP for making cooking compulsory for UK children

Congratulations to the British Government and in particular Michael Gove for their ambitious plan to ensure British children know how to cook healthy food. With the aim “to ensure every 14 year old has the ability to cook 20 savoury healthy recipes and to understand the origins and nutritional benefits of food”, from September next year all pupils between the ages of seven and 14 are to be taught cookery as part of the new national curriculum. A report compiled by the restaurateurs Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent of the Leon chain has made cooking lessons a chief recommendation, and it is understood the Government is in agreement. A second directive that will make it compulsory to eat lunches cooked in school aims to introduce a culture of fresh cooked meals to all children, ending the bringing of packed lunches – of varying nutritional quality – into school.

They have identified twenty recipes and techniques every child should learn
Cottage pie – uses up leftovers, comforts like lambswool
Dal – spiced pulses, incredibly cheap and phenomenally healthy
Tomato sauce – versatile, can be used in at least 10 other dishes
Paella – beautiful, energising and aromatic
Omelette – quite simply essential
Chicken stock – made from roast leftovers; boosts flavour without salt
Pasta and bean soup – rib sticking yet oddly elegant
Cornish pasties – easier-than-you-think portable goodness
Pancakes – a novice chef’s first challenge; always delectable
Mussels “marinières” – sustainably farmed seafood, economical and easy
French mustard vinaigrette – eye-watering, transforming
Beef stew – wine-rich and with a strip of orange rind (and dumplings)
Vegetable gratin – heart-warming use of béchamel and melted cheese
Fish pie – rich, popular party food
Bread – a life-long lasting lesson in fermentation
Grilled fish with hollandaise – challenging and ultimately impressive
Mayonnaise – merits the elbow grease and universally versatile
Curry – any one is a masterclass in balancing diverse flavour
Mashed potato – whipped with butter, velvety smooth
Lancashire hot pot – the easiest stew of all, beloved

Although my list would be slightly different – would include stir fry,  risotto and macaroni cheese rather than mussels marinieres or hollandaise sauce, I applaud this project and only wish we could get our government to demonstrate the same concern for the health of New Zealand children!

GOLD STARS to Disney Corporation and the New York Mayor

When it comes to creating healthier environments it seems the USA is way ahead of New Zealand. While both governments seem to be in the pockets of the food giants, at least we are seeing some positive action in the states thanks to the Walt Disney Corporation and the Mayor of New York.

A gold star to the Walt Disney Corporation for vowing to ban ads sponsored by junk food from its TV channels, radio stations and websites intended for children. That means kids watching Saturday morning children’s shows on Disney’s ABC network will no longer see ads for fast foods and sugary cereals that don’t meet the company’s nutrition standards. The guidelines won’t go into effect until 2015 because of existing advertising agreements. At an event announcing the push, first lady Michelle Obama called the move a “game changer.”  “Just a few years ago if you had told me or any other mom or dad in America that our kids wouldn’t see a single ad for junk food while they watched their favorite viva Must, chairwoman of the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts School of Medicine, said Disney could succeed where government thus far has made little progress.  Given the lack of government regulation around advertising to children, a large company like Disney taking a stand is a great step forward.

A gold star also to New York Mayor Michael Bloombery for proposing to ban sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces in New York City restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums. City officials say they believe it will ultimately push governments around the U.S. to adopt similar rules.