Cooking courses for parent carers are very much hands on sessions called ‘Make and Munch’ with participants cooking all the food, helped and advised by the HALFF cooks where necessary. The recipes are simple, and each session is planned alongside appropriate nutritional and parenting advice. For example, we recently ran a session on breakfasts where we looked at various egg and fruit based recipes, and provided lots of advice on how to make the most important meal of the day interesting and healthy. At the end of each session everyone sits down together to enjoy the meal they have prepared.
As the name would suggest, these involve a cook showing how to cook a particular dish to the group and involve no audience participation in the cooking although questions and chat are of course welcomed! The cook will talk through what is being done and give some nutritional information on what is being prepared. At the end of the session everyone gets to taste the food.
We have run demos at children’s centres and playgroups in Seaton, Honiton, Chard, Sidmouth, Exmouth and Axminster. These have included smoothie making, build a sandwich and lunchbox ideas. Keep an eye out on our diary dates page or Facebook for information on future demos.
Why is HALFF focusing on these sessions?
Childhood obesity is a real issue for the parents and children of today. Nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese, and we are seeing the first generation of children that are likely to be less healthy than their parents. The highest levels of obesity are seen in those children from low income backgrounds, and in East Devon there are pockets of real deprivation.
Parents often hear confusing messages from the media about what is healthy and what is not, food labelling can be confusing and it is often all too tempting when strapped for time to reach for ready meals which can be very high in fat, sugars and salt.
Another issue facing mothers is post natal depression (PND). Research shows that PND is most common among women with little social or family support. People in Devon often live rurally and may have limited or no access to a car, or possibly even public transport, which can make isolation a real problem.
We also recognise that in today’s society, with more and more mothers working outside the home, that it is not only parents that care for their children. Carers could also be a grandparent or other relative, or a childminder or nursery. Our courses and demos are open to all.
The project helps to address the issues facing parents/carers of young children and aims to
- Increase confidence in cooking for others.
- Improve knowledge of food, nutrition, preparation and planning.
- Support those who may be isolated as a result of their caring responsibilities.
This is funded as part of the Food Hub project by the Big Lottery Fund.