WE CAN MAKE OUR CHIL­DREN HEALTH­IER

BBC Good Food - - Family - Nadiya Hussain

Are our chil­dren be­com­ing un­health­ier? I think we can only re­ally an­swer that about our own chil­dren, us­ing our own ex­pe­ri­ences. So, here goes: in my best mama voice, ‘When I was a lit­tle girl, we never sat in front of the tele­vi­sion, we played out af­ter school and all week­end. We never had or­gan­ised play, we never got bored.’ And I can tell you I moved a lot more than my kids do now. They do move but it’s sys­tem­atic and co­or­di­nated: swim­ming lessons, Zumba, bas­ket­ball, bike rid­ing, walks in the woods to­gether. We never ate take­aways, I didn’t have one un­til I dis­cov­ered free­dom at 18. My kids can tell you their favourite pizza top­pings and whether they want stuffed crust or cheesy bites. They know what a ke­bab looks, feels and smells like. They like their chicken burg­ers with cheese and al­ways in a toasted sesame bun. We, on the other hand, ate three square meals a day: break­fast, lunch and din­ner and noth­ing in be­tween. Not ever. My chil­dren have a much un­health­ier life­style than I had grow­ing up. But their world is dif­fer­ent too. The dis­turb­ing sta­tis­tics about tooth de­cay and child­hood obe­sity are tes­ta­ment to the fact that eat­ing habits have changed hugely since I was born in 1984. And, of course, it’s right that we have all the in­for­ma­tion – good and bad – but as a par­ent it’s easy to fo­cus on the neg­a­tive. Two big things have changed in those years: life­style and ac­ces­si­bil­ity. The

The pace of life is so fast now that quite of­ten I feel choked on a Fri­day night

pace of life is so fast now that, quite of­ten, I feel choked on a Fri­day night from the sheer lev­els of ac­tiv­ity through the week and not hav­ing stopped to come up for air. So many fam­i­lies can re­late to liv­ing life at break­neck speed. Busy equals tired, tired equals the easy route and the easy route is ac­ces­si­bil­ity. We can sit on our so­fas, or­der din­ner on­line and there it is, at our door. We can eat what­ever we like, when­ever we feel like it – all it takes is a cou­ple of taps or a phone call. Easy. Chill­ing sta­tis­tics and alarm­ing head­lines aside, if we’ve be­come part of the prob­lem we have to be part of the so­lu­tion. If we change the way we shop, buy and travel we can all be a part of a re­mod­elling of our chil­dren’s fu­ture – one fam­ily at a time.

We can­not stop progress, nor would we want to – progress is pos­i­tive for our fu­ture. We just have to move for­ward with a side or­der of veg­eta­bles and a run/ swim/work­out first thing in the morn­ing so when you do ac­tu­ally sit down to eat af­ter a hard day’s work, you know it’s per­fectly okay to have that pud­ding.

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