Tom Hunt's Food for Thought

PUBLISHED: 16:12 19 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:00 20 February 2013

Tom Hunt's Food for Thought

Tom Hunt's Food for Thought

The way we buy and cook food has changed dramatically in this country ...

The way we buy and cook food has changed dramatically in this country. Without wanting to sound sexist or misogynistic, it seems to me that the role of women and predominately mothers has played a large part in what and how we eat. For a family in the 1950s and 60s it was common practice to sit around the table when dad got home from work and eat a hearty meal that mum had been slaving over all afternoon. This meant that women were in control of the whole familys diet and that they had the time, knowledge and skills to cook fresh, locally sourced food.

Now women, quite rightly, want to work and this is having an impact on what we eat - and not for the better.

Child and adult obesity are at their highest levels ever and it seems not even Jamie Oliver can help us now. In the UK 27% of children are clinically obese and child obesity has doubled in just a decade. Children are eating food that is high in sugar, fat and salt. Is it just me or can there not be more parental control in the process?

I know Im on dodgy ground because in my last article I confessed I was a DINKY (Double Income, No Kids Yet) so what do I know about raising a child? However, surely there are some basic measures that can be taken to improve what we and the next generation eat. Much of the time I encourage people to buy local, eat seasonally and look for quality
produce. The response I often get is that its too expensive.

This is simply not true. You can eat healthily every day but you have to have the time and presence of mind
to do so.

Time. It is something that few of us have and even fewer use to make food. Convenience, or should I call it laziness, has become one of the biggest problems with food. Many parents buy easy to cook, ready portioned, often microwavable food for their children. This is a major cause of child obesity. It is easy to cave in when you are at the supermarket and so let the kids have chicken nuggets, Micro Chips or other processed foods. In the back of your mind youre thinking its not the healthiest food but at least theyll eat it, it doesnt cost much and it will only take a few minutes to cook. Please, think again. Instead of passively watching the myriad of cooking shows on TV,
try making a few mental notes or
even downloading the recipes.

Shropshire is an agricultural county with some of the best produce in the UK. Take the family out for the day and call in at a farm shop or go to a farmers market and you will see food that is guaranteed to be better than what youll find in the freezer aisle at the superstore, for comparable costs. If you just dont think you can afford it, British Food Fortnight runs until October 2nd, with many food outlets including supermarkets, taking part. Use this as your excuse to try cooking something new using fresh, local ingredients. It will be better for you, your children and the local economy. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this and whether you are trying to change what you and your family eat. Get in touch - I might even be able to help point you in the right direction.

Tom Hunt is 29 and lives in Shrewsbury. Hes a director with Shropshire Tourism and marketing manager at Ludlow Food Centre.

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