- Food and Cooking
How to lose weight
Knowing How To Cook Is A Vital Key In Losing Fat
Cookery lessons at school will help fat children become thinner and healthier. Government thinking all over the world now agrees teaching children to cook healthy meals will help bring child and teenage obesity down.
We as a population are getting fatter by the day and so are our children. Our governments are sometimes accused of being a nanny state that makes too many decisions affecting our lives and making these decisions as policy. Yet I can’t help but celebrate the news that government in America and Europe and some parts of Asia want to put cookery lessons back onto the school curriculum to promote healthy eating among younger people which will help us and our children lead be healthier people in the future.
When I was at school over twenty years ago, gender based streaming in the classroom at school was common. So the boys did woodwork and the girls did home economics which included cookery. As a result me being a boy at school I had to do woodwork which meant I didn't pick up very many cookery and kitchen skills at school. It wasn’t until I arrived at University at the age of 19 that I realised not teaching me to cook because I’m male had left me stranded and unable to put together a healthy filling meal.
Being unable to cook meant I neglected my health I stayed hungry more times than I needed to and was dependant on take-away, fast-food or the kindness of friends and colleagues who were willing to cook for me. Without these friends I’d have been taking in more convenience food than is healthy and I know only too well that living on high fat and high sugar foods makes me obese and makes anyone else who eats junk food fat too. Studies into eating habits, both adult eating habits and children's eating habits prove that people who live on junk food like high fat take-aways, sugared salads from restaurants, and burgers, pizza's and crisps and chocolate, and foods from the freezer that are high in fat all put on weight from eating these foods at meal times.
Thankfully, a few years ago, a good friend rescued me and showed me how to cook for the sake of survival. Without this coaching from a dear mate, I’d still be opting for the quick out of a packet solution to satisfy my hunger or going for fast food that is too high in vegetable fats and sugars.
Now I can cook a healthy meal for myself and with some guidance in nutrition from a self help group I’ve learnt how eating fat free meat, fish, poultry and lots of vegetables, beans, rice and pulses allows my weight to get to a healthy level. Rice, grains, lentils, vegetables, pulses all help promote good health because eating them gives our bodies a boost in proteins and essential A, B, C, D and E vitamins.
A couple of days ago I was sitting having coffee with a group of young people and decided to ask where they’d leant their cookery skills from. Barry a local recruitment worker said “My grandma showed me how to cook good old fashion wholesome food like a roast dinner. Either roast beef or roast lamb and roast chicken and vegetables. I eat lots of roast dinners cooked English style with no oil or fats and my weight stays great. At 24 years of age I'm not overweight or underweight”
Hashim, a young Asian male with a very healthy physique said “My mother showed me how to cook and most days I do prepare my own food and pack it high with proteins like milk, fresh yoghurts and plenty of lentils and spinach to promote good a strong muscle and fitness.I cook fish and prawn curries with a little olive oil added. People ask me where my muscles and strong body come from. I tell them I eat a good home cooked meal at least every day. And I avoid fried chicken from fast food shops. In face most weeks I don't have a take-away meal or a delivered to my door meal at all. These are all high in fats and not good for maintaining good health” Hashim, a snooker hall attendant said.
Maddy Iqbal is school-leaver training as a carer for disabled people. “My mum encourages me to practice cooking every evening when she’s getting the family meal together. Because my Mum is 55 but looks very young and has always been healthy I really respect what she’s taught me about food. "Greens first Maddy she reminds me and get rid of all the fat from meat before you cook it” is Maddy' mum's advice to her. By greens Maddy's mum means pile the plate high with vegetables and be sure to eat them all. Maddy says she resists the temptation to have snacks when she is at college. Fried chips, fried stake, and fizzy cold drinks are all very popular in the College canteen Maddy told me but she takes sandwiches with rye bread and eggs, fish and vegetable fillings.
This latest decision that our governments want to roll out to put cookery back on the School agenda is warmly received by schoolchildren and by grown ups too. With one in every four school goers being overweight young people and adults too think it is definitely a good idea to give young people advice on planning, budgeting, shopping and cooking a healthy meal three times a day. And few people think that teaching children about healthy eating from 5 years of age upwards is a bad thing or too radical a plan to introduce to very young children. The theory behind this says if children learn to eat everything that is available in shops, take aways and restaurants and learn to eat without questioning food then they will become obese. Instead, if children are taught at school what a high sugar or a high fat meal is and why eating fish and chicken and lamb and vegetables is good for them then those children will grow up informed and able to make healthy choices about what they will eat every day and will as they grow into adults be able to see the food that is very readily available to them as unhealthy and recognisable as fat causing food or as food that is healthy. In the long run food related education will help children make and informed choice and it's hoped that from this education they will recognise and go for the healthy choices.
Not only will cookery classes pass on the essential skills needed to maintain a healthy diet it will also give our younger people important life skills. Let’s face it, it’s not much fun moving into your first home to realise that without mum or mates you have no idea how to put a meal together. Cookery lessons in infant, middle years and high schools will enrich the lives of children. Cookery lessons make the school day interesting and rewarding. And these lessons in preparing and cooking up food help teach healty choices as well as providing valuble life skills later for survival later on in life.
So nanny state as Governments are often accused of being but any coaching that promotes independence and health has to be welcomed. The London 2012 Olympics is a powerful opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles to everyone in Britain and to people all over the world. If we continued to let thousands of school leavers enter adult life with no domestic skills, it would be all too easy for them to opt for take outs or food in packets that cause obesity which in the worst of cases can kill so many young people prematurely.
In this battle to prevent rising incidents of heart disease, diabetes and cancer the move towards cookery classes in schools has to be applauded. We’re bringing back into our culture tasty food and good ideas that will improve the lives of thousands of young people for many years to come.
By Safiq Ali Patel