One of my favourite soapbox topics over the years has been the need for better and more practical education about food and nutrition. As a qualified home economist, I was part of the organisation that lobbied the government for this vital subject to continue – more years ago than I care to recall.
The need to equip students with the ability to create food that is enjoyable, affordable and healthy is more important than ever before – yet sadly as both highlighted in the National Food Strategy and in the recent excellent BBC Food Programme episode on care homes (1st August), we are still failing to make this happen. As a result, we have a massive number of adults (and children) with diet-related health issues and our elderly in care homes are all too often being fed food that is neither pleasurable or sufficiently nutritious.
How can we hope to improve people’s diet if we don’t educate? Good, healthy food does not need to be expensive but if you don’t have the knowledge and basic skills – never mind the incentive or inspiration – it is not going to happen.
In recent weeks, I have been trying to explain to one of the nation’s largest care home providers’ food team why a diet full of sugar and fat is not the answer to weight loss, what is meant by hidden salt and that above all, 90 year olds do still like to eat food that has texture and flavour and looks good.
As we (hopefully) emerge from the pandemic, with the reinforced knowledge of the importance of diet on both our physical and mental wellbeing, my hope is that educating everyone about food and nutrition is properly implemented – for all our sakes.