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Cookery Class News

Don’t want to be labelled obese? Obey the labels!

Having put together a nutritional diet for an ‘abs’ program, there’s little I don’t know about food labelling.  Much of that is thanks to the in-depth research necessary to turn the diet used as the basis for the program from the haute cuisine status it held, whilst delivering exactly the same results, into a Supermarket own-label branded diet (in the majority).

In fact, if you were to lay out the majority of everyday foods on a table, I’d be able to give you a rough approximation of the make up of each ingredient, fats, carbs, protein and any vitamin and/or mineral content, including sodium. Once you get to that stage, you begin to take it for granted that everyone else, similarly conscious of what they’re feeding their bodies (you so very are what you eat), at least shows a passing interest in what the packaging says about the food within. But apparently not.

That ever-popular editorial Agricultural Economics has recently issued this year’s results of the National Health Interview Survey in the US. It highlighted, for me, three main instances that could be directly addressed to tackle the epidemic of obesity spreading the globe (not to mention far too many waistlines), upon the crest of which rides the ever-growing problem of type two diabetes, even in younger adults.

The first, and for the woman looking for a quick fix to tackle their weight loss issues, is perhaps the one that is simplest to implement, is that women who don’t read food labels are an average 9lbs heavier than their content-querying counterparts. That’s like half a stone and then some!

Secondly, the annual study suggests that those who continued their education after compulsory schooling were more likely to consult the food labels than those who’d quit as soon as they were able.

And tertiary – portion control. Quite simply, if you don’t know how many calories, grams of saturated fat or nutritional content each meal contains, how on earth can you begin to serve up healthy options for you and your family?

All of this suggests that the education about food we receive falls way short and it’s often up to us as adults to go out into the world and learn even the basics of nutritional content that will help us live our lives to the full and engender our children to do the same.

There is plenty of further reading on here under the ‘healthy eating‘ tag, but why not do something about learning how to cook healthy and nutritious food yourself? We offer many regional cookery courses for you to compare. Check them out and see where you can get a hold of your nearest healthy-eating cookery class to kick-start your metabolism, hence your life. It is that serious.

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Cookery Courses News

A recipe for success on cookerycourses.co.uk

Do you know what we’re missing here on cookerycourses.co.uk?

It’s something so blindingly obvious but, in our urge to bring you the best news and trends from the world of food, fine dining and, more importantly where to go and learn to cook it, we’ve not brought a single recipe to you in all of that time.

Yes, we may have pontificated about the strides being made in the hospitality trade to overhaul the restaurant and pub trade menus to incorporate modern thinking about what’s healthy and their attempts to deliver just that.

We may have raved about the number of vegetarian cookery courses and the rise in the number of eateries where you can now go and be sure that the vegetables have not been prepared on the same kitchen work surface as a slab of meat.

In more recent times our focus on food recycling and the work that featured not-for-profit organisations like FoodCycle are doing to give young people experience of working in teams, learning to cook using fresh ingredients and fight food poverty in needy communities has received welcome comments from our readership.

And, of course, no decent site about food would overlook the struggle the Western World is fighting against obesity, derived from generations opting for a Big Mac, Kentucky or microwaved ‘healthy’ meal instead of preparing their own lunches from fresh ingredients.

What we’ve not done, in all this time, is offer recipes of our own – Lord knows, there are enough of them out there for us to adapt to our own special theme.

But what many recipes don’t do is give you the calorific and nutritional breakdown of what goes into each meal Yes, they give you the prep time, ingredients and method, but not a lot about what good the meal does you.

So don’t be surprised to find a few quick, easy recipes popping up between our news articles, starting tomorrow with an Aldo Zilli classic.

See you then.

oh – and a big p.s. – if there are any classics that you would like to see covered that you have cooked time and again or would like to try but you are not sure about what the meal constitutes in the way of calories, nutrition or how far they go towards your five-a-day, please feel free to drop a line in the comment box, below, and we will endeavour to bring you a recipe with the break-down of nutrition to go alongside.

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Food and Ingredients News

Unilever to instigate UK healthy eating out campaign

Although the UK is still officially a fair way behind the U.S. in the obesity stakes, our rise in overweight children and adults alike is very much a cause for concern. As things stand, a quarter of our adult population are clinically obese – compare that with one report that suggests that by as soon as the year 2030 90% of Americans will top the scales over and above regulatory guidelines, and you see just how bad the problem is.

Although celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver have tried to instil healthy eating practise through school menus, little will change until one of the global conglomerates jump ship and decides it really is time to start educating the world that ‘we are what we eat’ by example. And as they don’t come much bigger than Unilever, we may well be at the dawn of a bright new day in nutrition for healthy living.

Lisa Faulkner, Celebrity Masterchef winner, has been chosen to spearhead the Unilever Food Solutions Ambu-lunch campaign. The initiative has been launched to cut half a billion calories from the UK’s eat-out menus. In theory, they have deduced that by slashing just 24 calories per meal will go a long way to resolving the obesity issue.

As such, Lisa Faulkner will be out and about in the Ambu-lunch itself, starting with the launch of its healthy eating campaign outside the Houses of Parliament (where it is rumoured the Secretary for Health has been invited to hop on board the pimped up ambulance) before setting off around the country driving home the campaign’s message to eateries, catering colleges and cookery courses.

Choosing Lisa Faulkner, a veritable champion of the healthy eating cause, was a stroke of genius by Unilever, a move instigated by their most up-to-date World Menu Report 3 that suggests over fifty percent of consumers crave healthier options on the pub and restaurant menus across the nation.

The report, tagged ‘Seductive Nutrition’, revealed exactly what improvements customers want to see. The answers were not only an eye-opener as to how clued up customers are, but also by how far the hospitality trade was second-guessing – and missing – its target audience’s tastes. In descending order, here’s what the UK public want to see more of on their menus (a must-see for all cookery schools who are looking for their next promotions):
• A wider choice and greater serving of vegetables
• Portion control adjusted down to recommended calorific sizes
• Less fat used in cooking and on served meat (now, that’s bad, see – everybody needs good fat – that’s where media have blinded the market it seeks to control)
• Fresh ingredients over frozen
• A reduction of calories (hence the launch of Ambu-lunch, one would suggest)
• And finally, grilled food over fried

In an attempt to bolster interest, chefs who sign up for the deal have access to all sorts of online information produced by Unilever, like healthier options for individual ingredients, calorific calculators and portion sizing to name a few, all designed so that taste isn’t impacted. No doubt, healthy eating in the UK just took one giant leap in the right direction.

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Cookery Class News

Infants and parents keen on cookery classes at Norfolk school

If there’s going to be a school curriculum that incorporates cookery classes for year one and two pupils, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that the school is based in Delia Smith’s neck of the woods in Norfolk.

In an age where many young families have literally no idea how to cook from fresh ingredients after a generation has been subjected to ‘healthy’ ready meals, this can only be good news for the future of the country. And that’s not being over dramatic; obesity in the young and ignorance of culinary and nutritional values is a a growing problem that, if not addressed now, will have serious implications for future generations.

So why has this school, namely Costessey Infant School, accepted the gauntlet of allowing youngsters into the kitchen, then additionally inviting the parents along afterwards to sample what their little darlings have learnt in the cookery classes?

Let’s Get Cooking Lottery funding kick-started the project

Wednesday mornings at the school have never been the same since, in 2008, the school accepted National Lottery funding as part of the “Let’s Get Cooking” project in an attempt to correct the well-publicised deviance from the straight and narrow of children’s diets. But it’s not only the youngsters at school who benefit from the cookery courses.

According to head teacher Rosemary Kett, the cooking lessons undertaken by the pupils have a knock-on effect upon the parents, who may or may not fall into the category as outlined above. And it seems to be having the desired effect. The school also runs cookery classes after school hours, which are equally as popular and places are filled very quickly. As no one likes remembering what they learn at school, Costessey has also got its own cook book featuring many of the recipes that make up the cookery classes.

Over the four years that the classes have been running, hundreds of pupils have benefited from the experience of Mrs Kett and volunteers like Jill Lamb who regularly help out, indeed, like a lamb to the slaughter one would think. But not so.

As well as learning the basics of cooking and table manners it would appear that the lessons learnt are carried forth into junior school, too. Last year, Costessey Juniors won the Norfolk Healthy Schools award before this year achieving the national standard of the same accolade. Indeed, even if parents are unsure of what constitutes a healthy packed lunch, there are links to such information on their website, namely www.eatwell.gov.uk and www.food.gov.uk.

As all the above parties involved from Colman’s country are eager to make healthy eating such a large part of growing up, I suppose you could say they’re as keen as mustard. Mmm, let’s hope my webmaster doesn’t send me a dijon letter after that little classic, eh?

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News

Experts predict a huge rise in obesity

According to a recent forecast the number of Britons classed as obese could rise to a shocking 26 million by the year 2030. The predicted rise is being blamed on an abundance of rich food, a lack of exercise and an unwillingness on the part of policymakers to tackle the problem.

It has been predicted that if the current trend continues, the number of clinically obese people in the United Kingdom will rise by eleven million over the next twenty years.

Experts have estimated that the additional cost of treating the resulting health problems would be around £2 billion per year.

Over the next twenty years, the increase in UK obesity is estimated to result in an extra 461,000 cases of heart disease, 130,000 of cancer and 668,000 of diabetes.

The prevalence of obesity amongst UK men is predicted to rise from 26 per cent to between 41 and 48 per cent. The percentage of obese women is estimated to increase from 26 per cent to between 35 and 43 per cent.

Many experts believe that the Government should be doing more to tackle the problem. In a recent interview with BBC breakfast, leading epidemiologist Prof. Klim McPherson claimed that, whilst the Government is taking action, obesity is still at alarming rates so it clearly isn’t doing enough.

Prof. McPherson believes that better food labelling and a tax on drinks that are high in sugar, are just two examples of the measures that the Government should be taking.

Dr Michael Knapton of the British Heart Foundation expressed his concern with the predicted figures for heart disease and obesity in the United Kingdom. He also called on the Government to take a lead role by making it easier for people to be healthy.

Dr Knapton believes that the Government should focus on ensuring that children are protected from junk-food marketing.

For those that want to improve their diet but lack the basic skills to prepare healthy food the Gables Cookery School in Gloucestershire offers a one day cookery course which may be of interest.