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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Shite ‘n’ Chips

'Since September, 100 pupils at Chineham Park Primary School in Basingstoke, Hampshire, have been taking part in an experiment to change their behaviour by changing the way they eat. The project, devised by nutritionist Patrick Holford and initiated by the school's headteacher, Gwen Clifford, involved changing the pupils' lunches and snacks and teaching the importance of healthy eating at home. The results have been almost miraculous.'

Almost miraculous”? Well, no. Not really. Let’s have a look at this incredible phenomenon in more detail:

‘At the start of this school year, single mum Claire Bax was at her wits' end. Her three youngest children were unruly, uncooperative and incredibly difficult to care for. At school, their grades were terrible and at home, if Claire so much as tried to read to her seven-year-old son, Joshua, he'd storm off. Meanwhile, 10-year-old Abbie's eczema was so bad she hid her PE kit so her classmates wouldn't see her skin.
Now, after school each day Abbie, Joshua and eight-year-old Megan sit and study without fuss. Their teachers are singing their praises and Abbie's eczema has almost disappeared. The reason for this almost miraculous transformation? Their diet.’

I see. Forgive me a moment, but if you’ve got a kid with a serious skin problem like eczema, and a kid with the attention span of a neutered rodent, it really shouldn’t take much of a leap of the imagination for you to connect it in some way to the fact that you’re feeding them Bernard Matthew’s shite ‘n’ chips for their tea every night, should it? So, you feed them properly and their health improved? Knock me down with a chicken nugget, it never did…

"It's amazing to have positive feedback from the children," she says. "Joshua and Megan now enjoy reading and doing their homework. Abbie's skin is almost clear and all three concentrate better."

And, while I’m on the subject, I don’t think that dozy half-baked parents like that should be able to get away with saying patently inaccurate things like, "I was full of guilt. I'd given them lots of processed and fried food like pizza and chips. I only have a budget of £50 a week to spend on us all, and processed foods tend to be cheaper."

Now, I don’t want to get all Jamie “you’re all a bunch of wankers” Oliver about this, but that’s just not true, is it love? I myself don’t have a lot of money, and I consider myself more than averagely capable when it comes to eating healthily on a frugal budget. Which is one of the many and various reasons why I don’t buy overpriced prepackaged goods: they’re NOT cheaper, they’re just EASIER. If you want to feed your kids properly on meat, fish, pulses and vegetables, I can guarantee you it’ll cost less than buying pizza and chips. Guarantee it.

My advice? If, as the article says, you’re a stay-at-home mum, I’d suggest that you find the time in your day – while the kids are at school – to learn how to bloody cook.

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