This week the National Food Strategy was published. The National Food Strategy is an independent review commissioned by the government to set out a vision and a plan for a better food system.
It is intended to be an overarching strategy for the government, designed to ensure that our food system delivers safe, healthy, affordable food; regardless of where people live or how much they earn.
Who Wrote the National Food Strategy?
The report was written by Henry Dimbleby who co-founded the Leon restaurant chain, before going on to become Director of London Union, which runs some of London’s most successful street food markets. He was a co-founder of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and co-authored The School Food Plan (2013), which set out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food.
Henry Dimbleby was appointed lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in March 2018.
What were the key recommendations of part one?
“One of the miserable legacies of Covid-19 is likely to be a dramatic increase in unemployment and poverty, and therefore hunger,” the first instalment, published last summer, states. The effects of this hunger on children’s bodies and minds are likely to be long lasting and to exacerbate social inequalities, it said.
Expanding eligibility for the Free School Meal scheme to include every child up to the age of 16 from a household where the parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefits, will help “shore up the diets” of the country’s most deprived young people, the report advised.
It also recommended that the value of Healthy Start vouchers, which can be used to purchase products including cow’s milk and baby formula, be increased from £3.10 to £4.25 per week. The value of the Healthy Start vouchers rose to £4.25 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in April.
Part two – published this week – sets out in stark detail how poor diets contribute to around 64,000 deaths every year in England alone and cost the economy an estimated £74 billion. Dimbleby also warns that our eating habits are destroying the environment, which in turn threatens our food security. The food we eat accounts for around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of biodiversity destruction.
The independent report calls for the introduction of the world’s first Sugar and Salt Reformulation Tax, with some of the money being used to expand free school meals and support the diets of those living in the most deprived neighbourhoods. It also calls for food education to be central to the national curriculum, and for food standards to be protected in any new trade deals.
Dimbleby also recommends measures to restore and protect our natural environment, by investing in sustainable farming techniques and new food technologies such as novel proteins.
The National Food Strategy report sets out how diets will need to change over the next ten years to meet the Government’s existing targets on health, climate and nature. By 2032, fruit and vegetable consumption will have to increase by 30%, and fibre consumption by 50%, while consumption of food high in saturated fat, salt and sugar will have to go down by 25%, and meat consumption should reduce by 30%.
In the past I have written at length about the problems with our dietary guidelines in my post Shocking New ‘Eatwell’ Guide Heavily Influenced by Processed Food Comapnies.
The Brazilian dietary guidelines published in 2014 are so clear and easy to understand. I wrote about how good it would be if we were to have similar dietary guidelines.
The Brazilian Guidelines: Ten steps to a healthy diet
- Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet.
- Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking natural or minimally processed foods and to create culinary preparations.
- Limit consumption of processed foods.
- Avoid consumption of ultra-processed foods.
- Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, in company.
- Shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods.
- Develop, exercise and share cooking skills.
- Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life.
- Out of home, prefer places that serve freshly made meals.
- Be wary of food advertising and marketing.
It would be amazing if as a result of the National Food Strategy the Government could provide more practical guidance for families as to how to eat well on a budget – with ideas for weekly shopping lists and recipes.
A lot of people don’t know what to shop for or what to cook to create a healthy, balanced meal plan for their family for a week.
Tomorrow I will post some ideas for cheap and healthy meals based on whole foods that you can feed your family if you are on a budget.
Hello, I’m Chloe. I’m a nutrition and health coach and I’m on a mission to inspire & support women so they can go from feeling fatigued to feeling fabulous!
I help women who are FED up of being overweight, addicted to sugar and feeling tired ALL THE TIME to lose weight and optimise their health by fixing hormonal, digestive, autoimmune and energy issues.
My step-by-step programme, Revitalise, will help you lose weight, get back your energy, restore vitality and create lifelong health using the power of beautiful & delicious REAL FOOD.
I’m here to make it easy for you to eat healthy, delicious food without counting calories or feeling deprived. You’ll reset your relationship with food, shift your mindset and build new habits for a complete health transformation!
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