Families encouraged to eat healthily on the cheap

Vegetables Healthy eating can be done on a budget, the government says

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An effort to convince families in England that they can eat healthily on a budget is being launched.

Four million recipe leaflets will be mailed to families already signed up to the government's Change 4 Life public health campaign.

Three supermarket chains have also agreed to offer discounts on products such as fruit, vegetables and fish.

But Labour said ministers do not take public health seriously and the drive is an "advertisement for big business".

Meanwhile, celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott has helped devise a cookbook promoting healthy dishes, with recipes that can be created for under £5.

He has also been filmed performing cooking tutorials which will be posted on the Change 4 Life website.

Among the meals being promoted are vegetable soup, fish pie and sweet and sour chicken.

Many of the ingredients will be discounted at the three supermarket chains signed up to the campaign - Asda, Co-op and Aldi - although it is not being revealed how big the discounts will be.

Start Quote

They're calling this public health but it's just a glorified advertisement for big business.”

End Quote Diane Abbott Shadow public health minister

Public health minister Anne Milton said: "The new year is a good time to think about losing weight. The Supermeals campaign will give us all some great ideas for balanced meals on a budget."

Mr Harriott added: "Sometimes the thought of making meals from scratch can seem a bit daunting, but I have always tried to assure people that cooking at home can be really quick, easy and doesn't need to break the bank."

But Labour criticised the move.

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott said: "They're calling this public health but it's just a glorified advertisement for big business. This is a government that doesn't take its responsibility around public health seriously.

"Some areas in inner cities are fresh food deserts so families fall into eating takeaway chicken and chips."

Health benefits

Dale Rees, a spokesman for the British Dietetic Association, said the initiative was a positive step because the recipes would help those who wanted to cook but did not know the ingredients involved, the steps needed to prepare them or how to cook adhering to a budget.

"Evidence shows that people who eat a diet low in fat, added sugars and salt are less likely to develop chronic diseases in later life. You can protect against heart disease, for example, plus you're less likely to be obese and have weight-related health problems," said the dietician.

Referring to the issues raised by Ms Abbott, he said some local shops often carried fresh fruit and vegetables but some groups - people without cars, elderly and disabled people - found it hard to access such produce in inner city "blackspots".

Such people, he said, could be eligible for deliveries of hot meals, adding: "We need to tackle those blackspots to make sure fresh food is made available for those people. But that shouldn't stop the promotion of eating healthy food on a budget."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    Diane Abbott's point about this being a glorified marketing ploy is interesting. How exactly would she spend the money to promote healthy eating message without enlisting the big food vendors?

    Perhaps she would enlist the help of trade unions who could strike over it? That seems to be the default tactic of left wing these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    @lolakings1. To answer your question about the connection between low income and poor diet, it's because all the evidence supports that conclusion.
    30 seconds on Google will give you all the links you need.

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    I'll have to reword this because for some reason it was removed.
    Someone claimed their family is underweight due to food being expensive, someone else said they cant afford £5 a day on food despite working full time.However...you're both using the internet! I can't understand how anyone would have a computer and internet but wouldn't insist on having their families eat healthy meals. PRIORITIES!

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    Having conducted a few experiments I'm fussy as to from where and from whom I purchase alleged 'healthy' fruit and vegetables.

    Many folks believe they are eating healthy foods when in truth they are eating foods riddled with preservatives.

    If you don't know from whence it came - don't eat it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    The problem here is that realistically many families have a lot less than five pounds per meal to live off. They need to go back to the drawing board and devise meals that cost between one and three pounds for people on low incomes to take notice - this just shows how out of touch government has become with the people it is supposed to serve and advise!

  • rate this

    Comment number 409.

    11 Minutes ago
    MrSBaldrick 388

    I don't have a garden and the allotments in the area have a waiting list of about 5 years.

    I will not use the TESCO in Cosham as it is built over allotments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 408.

    401. juliet50
    re your comment 'Diane Abbott could do with eating a little less herself.'

    Diane Abbott's weight is down to a medical condition or didn't your shallow self know this!

  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    I just want cheap vegetables when I can't grow our own in the winter. I don't care if they look ugly or even if they are going mouldy! I just want cheap vegetables that I can afford to buy!

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    TV adverts do not help. The other evening an expectant mum having a check up, her partner comes in with a McDonalds!! This is a company who does not know the meaning of healthy eating. This is the kind of advert that should be banned just like tobacco adverts are now banned. Too many parents think the NHS is responsible for all health problems aswell as schools for all knowledge. No, its parents

  • Comment number 405.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 404.

    I think what Sean has missed is that these people cost us millions in care because they develop heart disease / diabetes / morbid obesity etc etc
    way before they die!
    Much better to have a healthy population. I agree with all those commentors who say it is actually cheaper eating healthily. I feed my family of 5 on less than £10 per day and we never have MacDonalds - my children don't like it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    The single biggest thing the supermarkets can do, to help shoppers on tight budgets, is to display the price per kilo.

    Shoppers must not be lulled into believing that labels such as "roll back" or "market value" mean they're getting a good deal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 402.

    a meal for £5! i work have 3 kids a hub who works and dont spend a fiver on one meal. I make everything from scratch, shop around freeze and plan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    Diane Abbott could do with eating a little less herself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    MrSBaldrick 388

    I've been trying to get a job for the last few month and with 120 applying for each vacancy in the area it's not that easy. I'm not on benefits but don't see the problem with claiming them if I need to. I've worked all my life and paid tax and NI.
    I don't have a garden and the allotments in the area have a waiting list of about 5 years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    278."Workng mums dont have the time to cook or the skill in some cases, If they did the supermarkets would not stock ready meals at discount prices?"

    Funny how working mums managed it for thousands of years up to about the 1970s. Almost all women worked, could cook, had less money and more kids.

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    381. Dragonwight
    'Employers need to be encouraged to let employees have time to exercise as fitter employees get sick less often'

    This comment is complete & utter rubbish as the only research done in to this has been paid for and carried out by the leisure industry particularly those who provide or manage workplace health clubs and gyms. There is no proof whatsoever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    8 Minutes ago
    375 Frank Lund

    Use fresh tomatoes, some chopped onion, cheese for protein and olive oil: you have 'tomato bruschetta'.

    We really don't need much meat to eat healthily. And you can't beat lentil soup in winter (or any time really).

    Garlic mashed in olive oil gives garlic bread that is a lot less firey than if you use butter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    I have a dream.

    Next time when Labour get in they will bring in holidays for chickens/pigs/cattle & sheep before they go to slaughter, or maybe soothing music before being stunned.

    Chickens have better regulations regarding living space than UK train passengers.
    All this PC kindness for animals that are going to be eaten has a cost.
    Life & living & dieing has ALWAYS been ugly & always will

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    Wonderful idea. Does that mean that I'll be able to eat the food that "Phil the Greek" has eaten over the years and live to be 90?


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