No one doubts the value of education, but when it comes to food, what is it and how best to teach it? As a nutritionist, I have long practised ‘preaching’ about food with a health angle, and what this means very much is thinking about food only in its building blocks – nutrients. Unfortunately this reductionist approach does not offer us many answers to why poor diets remain one of the most important factors contributing to non-communicable diseases around the world. This is why it is key for us to explore why food is much more. Understanding food in its broadest terms is also very important as key drivers to how we choose what to eat – that has a direct impact on our health.
A few months ago, my colleagues at Food – a fact of life UK – the education programme at the British Nutrition Foundation invited me to present a webinar as part of their series on ‘The Future of Food Education’. The talk comprised of three sections: understanding ‘ethnicity’ and health, trends in world foods, and further discussion points on creating a culturally appropriate healthy eating guide, the Eatwell Guide. The recording of the webinar can be found here:
In the webinar, I also highlighted how programmes such as Fun HCCA and TastEd are supporting the food education by not only learning about culinary techniques, but also exploring young people’s personal experience in food through stories and sensory experiences, which all contribute to developing their understanding of themselves, their families and the world through food. It was truly wonderful to hear that many teachers already embed these approaches in their food sessions. More information about this project can be found here: https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/news/a-future-modern-diverse-food-and-nutrition-education/
Recipes and cook-along
Also as part of this project, I joined Frances Meek, Senior Education Officer and Jenny Elms, food consultant, on a food practical with 20 other food teachers on 6th April 2022 on a cook-along which we completed a chicken katsu curry and pork yuk sung with lettuce wraps. I discussed the use of specific culinary ingredients and the importance of taste in healthy eating.
I also contributed to a suite of recipes with a focus on Eastern Asian cuisines for teachers to use that could be found here: https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/professional-development/teaching-and-learning/planning-and-teaching/the-future-of-food-education/global-cuisine-recipes/#EA