I am Gemma Page, a Unichef Ambassador, with special responsibilities for bringing the issues of Childhood Obesity in our schools into an open discussion and to advance Food Technology theories into everyday school environments.
Our aim is to revolutionise the way we currently think about the food we serve to our young students. We will use our Whole School Approach to bring together all the strands of school feeding and invigorate the very essence of how we feed our children.
Food4kids is an outreach project on behalf of Unichef, The National Chefs Union. We are all chefs or have a valued connection with the food industry. The project is spearheaded by Unichef Ambassador Gemma Page MSc. Mcieh.
The food we serve to our kids in schools, our future generation is, quite frankly a national disgrace. Our school food services has become nothing more than a means to generate income any how any way. Our children have become a “money making machine” for almost every school in the country and many can now be categorised as Obesogenic Environments as classified by the World Health Organisation.
What we do?
Food4kids looks at the problem in a revolutionary way. We accept that kids like pizza, sticky buns, Sausage rolls etc (we all do) but the food we currently serve our students is grossly overladen with High Starch Carbohydrates and Sugar. Current scientific belief is that after more than a decade of concentrating on saturated fats, the policy simply isn’t working, Fats are good, it’s the starches in bread potatoes, pasta and rice that are not, and scientists are now turning to the Insulin/Carbohydrate theories that have spawned the revolution in Keto dieting.
So, how did it get like this?
A decade ago, Jamie Oliver heralded a massive drive towards healthier Children’s meals in schools, the famous Turkey Twizzlers went out and in came healthier regimes.
The problem was that most of this was very short lived, and many schools, especially those in deprived areas returned back to what was cheap and filling, creating a system that is very hard to change because many schools are now “addicted” to the revenue such foods generate.
In short, if schools are forced to sell “healthy“ food the kids won’t buy it and the revenue drops, forcing cutbacks and possible redundancies.
So, what’s new?
In the last 5 years Food Science has become big business, with current trends in Plant based meals and menus, Keto based breads and pastries and a wholesome approach to Grains, Low carbs and even Gluten free foods now playing their parts.
If fact the technology behind Food Science is so advanced that many normal, everyday products Such as bread can now be made with far less Carbohydrates than ever before and we are a few short years away from totally Carb Free Wheat, Flour and rice.
Advances in Vegan, Gluten Free, and Dairy free products mean that the Starch Carbohydrates in flour, rice and potatoes can now be extracted in a similar way to those of other products.
5 years ago, vegan (dairy free) butter and double cream were impossible to buy but are now readily available and at a reasonable cost. Agricultural Scientists are already able to grow Genetically Modified Wheat, Rice and Potatoes, foods of the future are here with us right now.
Imagine being to eat all the pizza you like and NOT put any weight on??
What’s the problem?
The problem is that most of these items are expensive and still unavailable to the ordinary cooks who cater for our children. Most kitchens are still full of standard flour and sugar and the vast school Catering system of Caterers, and their Head Teachers and suppliers are very poorly educated in what could be achieved.
This is where we come in!
Food4kids have developed a revolutionary approach to school food. Our “Whole School” approach brings, Head Teachers, Caterers, Manufacturers, Supplier, Scientists and Chefs altogether under one roof, sharing knowledge and expertise.
Food4kids works with all the factors in the system to get the technology of the future onto our kid’s plates in a cost-effective way without the effecting the quality and taste of already existing favourites such as pizza and sticky buns.
But surely kids need Carbs?
Indeed, they do, but today many schools have a mid-morning break consisting of High Carb items and then again, a short while later for lunch where they consume even more “starchy” carbs reaching their Recommended Daily Carb Intake by midday?
Kids do need Carbs and Calories to achieve momentum but not the “starchy carbs” of highly processed foods such as bread.
These items are “overdosing” our children and creating an Obese Environment in which children are encouraged to buy these types of foods and drinks.
The 4 Baddies
Modern research is now centring on refined and highly processed foods, these are known as Complicated Carbohydrates which offer empty calories and are of no nutritional value but have become the staple issue for many school kitchens.
- Processed White Bread and white flour products
- Refined White sugar
- Refined White Rice
- Everyday White Potatoes
Our aim is to see these reduced to 50% and an overall reduction in the amount of Refined Starches in our schools, by developing and discovering similar priced lower carb products, new menus and recipes and the development of a better National Nutrition Policy than we have at present.
How can Food4kids change things?
Our unique “Whole School” approach means that everyone, and we mean EVERYONE in that chain is linked together with one goal in mind, to give our kids great tasting, low carb, low sugar foods.
Is it achievable? absolutely the ONLY thing we need for success is for everyone to say YES. It’s as simple as that, if all 7 links in the chain agree to say yes, then we can do it, not just for one school, but thousands
Thank you for your support.