Families in Herts are being helped to cook and eat healthy meals, through a new family cookery scheme.
The Good Food Club cookery school sees parents and children aged four to 11 learning to cook together, with the aim of inspiring them to cook from fresh ingredients and try new foods.
The hands-on course takes place over six weeks in local schools, taught by trained professionals.
The project is a partnership between Herts County Council and Herts Catering Ltd. The classes are supported by a registered nutritionist.
Classes focus on parents and children spending time cooking together and making healthy eating part of daily life. Schools are also encouraged to work with pupils to promote healthy eating in school and in the community, so it is a whole-school approach.
Forty schools are running the pilot scheme, and in each school the headteacher nominates six families they feel would most benefit most from the project.
Geoff Allen, headteacher of Maple Grove Primary School in Hemel Hempstead, where classes have already been held, said: “This is a really worthwhile project.
“There are evidenced links between good nutrition, good health and academic achievement and, through this partnership working, Hertfordshire is leading the way in making a real difference in promoting the health and wellbeing of its young people.”
Cabinet member for public health, localism and libraries, Teresa Heritage, said: “Many families eat convenience food because they think it is easier and cheaper than cooking from fresh, but these foods can contain a lot of ingredients that are very bad for our health.
“The Good Food Club cookery school helps families to develop a positive attitude to food. It takes the fear out of cooking by making it fun and easier for families to understand how to eat a balanced and nutritious diet on a budget.”
As the government prepares to launch its childhood obesity strategy, the importance of healthy lifestyles for children and young people has never been more prominent.
One in five children aged four to five is overweight or obese, and so are almost a third of 10 to 11-year olds. Obesity can lead to serious health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Obese children are more likely to experience bullying, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.