A new campaign to convince families that they can cook and eat healthy foods at home has been given the thumbs up by weight loss specialist All About Weight.
The ‘Supermeals Campaign’ is part of the government’s Change4Life public health initiative.
Will Williams, nutrition and fitness advisor of All About Weight, said: “Many people say that they cannot afford to eat a healthy diet.
“I find that this is more often due to lack of cooking skills than lack of income.
“The Change4Life offers cheap and healthy culinary ideas and has to be a positive scheme.
“However, for families at the bottom of the income scale, it is genuinely difficult to meet calorific needs without using energy dense-nutrient poor highly processed foods.
“An over reliance on these types of refined foods will leave families deficient in key nutrients and it also encourages weight gain.
“This may be why the poorest people in a modern Western society tend to be both the heaviest and the sickest- they are overfed but undernourished.”
Four million recipe leaflets are being distributed to families who are already taking part in Change4Life and three supermarkets (Asda, Aldi and Co-operative) are offering deals on the fruit, vegetables and fish which appear in the recipes.
Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott has helped to formulate the healthy recipes and he demonstrates how to cook them on the Change4Life website.
Williams said: “All About Weight supports nutritional education but the weakness of this scheme is the link with only certain supermarkets.
“Once people are inside they are bombarded with far more price promotions on unhealthy than healthy foods.
“For families on very low incomes, this scheme is unlikely to help because £5 per day is more than some people have to spend on food.
“We think that a more effective way to improve the diets and health of the poorest families would be to give them vouchers for healthy foods, or a nationwide scheme to subsidise the cost of vegetables, fruits and fish.”