Tuesday News Day – Is there Such a Thing as Bad Food?

Are you sick with guilt when your kids devour a packet of potato chips/crisps? Can you say you’ve never let your little ones feast on the chemical rush of bright orange Doritos?

Good food evangelist Jamie Oliver has caused a storm here in the UK with his very public lambasting of parents who give their kids junk food.

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My son’s favourite fix

"I’ve spent two years being politically correct about parents, but it’s
time to say, if you’re giving your young kids fizzy drinks then you’re
an ***** and a ****** [I've removed the actual words for sake of our younger readers - you guys can just fill in the blanks as you see fit!] ," the normally cherubic Oliver said last week. "If you give them bags of crisps
you’re an idiot. If you are not cooking them a hot meal sort it out. If
these people truly care they have got to take control."

Well, not surprisingly, his comments have lit a bit of a fire under Britain’s crisp-munching, cola-swilling masses. They also unnervered the head of supermarket chain Sainsburys, who boast as their healthy-eating frontman none other than Jamie Oliver.

Responding on the Guardian’s Comment is Free opinion blog, Sainsbury’s CEO, Justin King tried to put things in perspective while obviously protecting his strong bottom line in junk food.

Wrote King:

"Last week Jamie Oliver, who fronts Sainsbury’s advertising and has
done so much to highlight the importance of healthy eating, used
colourful language to criticise parents who allow children to eat junk
food and become obese. He has a point. By 2010 one million British
children are destined to be obese. A generation of overweight and unfit
children are the overweight and unfit adults of the future. This will
put substantial pressure on public services, notably the NHS.

But
while I agree with Jamie’s drive to get children eating healthily, his
attack is neither correct nor the best way to achieve change. I ate
crisps when I was young and drank fizzy drinks. My children do the
same, and they should be allowed to enjoy them. There is no such thing
as bad food – just bad diets. Moderation and variety are the key.
Dictating to people – or unleashing an expletive-filled tirade – is not
the way to get engagement. We need to make it easier for people to
understand the true content of foods and let them make informed
decisions."

Personally, I let my oldest kid enjoy a packet of Quavers on the rare, okay, not so rare, times that we have an after work/nursery drink in the garden at our local pub. It’s a real treat for him and something he only gets to indulge in once a week.

So, is moderation the key? Or do we need to initiate a jihad on junk food in order to preserve our kids’ health and palettes?

Let us know what you think

- Matthew

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