New recipe book for families with young children

A new recipe book ‘Together we cook’ has been launched by Evelina London’s community children’s nutrition and dietetics team to support healthy eating on a budget. The recipes, provided by young families from Lambeth and Southwark, have been nutritionally analysed and adapted so that they fit with current healthy eating guidance.

Figures from Public Health England this year show that 11.4% and 10.5% of children of reception age are classified as obese in Southwark and Lambeth, respectively.This compares with an England average of 9.5%. According to Public Health England, 23.4% of children aged under 16 years in Lambeth and 23.2% in Southwark wereliving in poverty in 2016.

The recipe book, which has been funded through donations, will be given to every family who completes a ‘Cook and eat well’ course run by Evelina London’s early years community food workers in children’s centres across both boroughs. Families who attend the course develop practical cooking skills and learn more about cooking healthy meals on a budget.

Serena Cunningham, an administrator from Brixton, attended classes with her daughter Naila, three, and previously with her son, Noah-Isaac, who is now eight, at Liz Atkinson children’s centre.

She said: “It’s good for children to learn how to cook from a young age and to learn more about food from other cultures, by using other alternatives to meat and sugar.

“This new book is perfect and means I have all the recipes together rather than on lots of individual sheets. I will definitely be using this to get the children involved at home. Naila loves being in the kitchen with me and she’s willing to help by preparing vegetables, mixing and also grating too”.

The recipes celebrate local diversity and include foods from the cuisines of West Africa, India, Portugal and the Caribbean. The project has been a collaborative process between the service and the local community, from its inception, collecting taste feedback for adapted recipes, and to the launch event. This will continue whilst evaluating the impact of the recipe book.

Maryam Bader, an early years’ community food worker at Evelina London who wrote the recipe book with colleagues Ana Da Silva and Harriet Preston, said: “This recipe book is a great source of information for all families and can help them to provide good nutritional meals for their children on a budget.

To find out more about the ‘Cook and eat well’ courses, visit the Evelina London community food workers Facebook page. Or download the book online.

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