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Encouraging healthy food in the UK

tkdogtkdog Posts: 255 The Mix Regular
edited July 18 in Politics & Debate
I feel there is a lack of real targeted health initiatives in the UK to get people eating healthier. Poorer families often end up having less good quality food which is cheaper and parents passing on bad habits to kids. I seen taxes been applied but I honestly think they have been more bad than good
Im sure there have be health and education campaigns but I haven't seen any lately at least that seems to have any real effect. There were big pushes at school in the past fruit at school, jamie oliver school dinners etc.

What do people think? How to get people eating healthier? Are any of the existing campaigns/policies working or are there any ways other countries have tried that could work? I seen education has been key in many countries.

One thing I saw suggested was banning certain food advertising outside.

lovemimoonmeila

Comments

  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 11,612 An Original Mixlorian
    Healthy food can be really cheap.. I really hate that "healthy food is expensive" crap. I got a 1kg bag of frozen broccoli for 69p...

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,949 Master Poster
    If you mean banning junk food adverts outside of the watershed hours they’re already going to do that (I think). I don’t think that particularly will make a lot of difference, I certainly didn’t pick up the unhealthy habits I have from TV advertising. But things might be different now from when I was a kid. But we observe those around us. So I think for kids to eat healthier we have to encourage adults to eat healthier. Possibly by making junk food more expensive and healthy food cheaper because in Britain we’re very motivated by money.
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 11,612 An Original Mixlorian
    Healthy food is already cheap.. I feel like it's more to do with convenience than the money side of things.
    How quick is it to throw a pizza in the oven with chips? Than have to actually chop, peel and actually spend time Making a meal?
    Heck even a lot of supermarkets offer free fruit to children while they shop with parents. In reality, a lot of healthy options are cheaper.
    Pack of 6 apples ( farm brand in Tesco) is 79p compared to a bag of 6 packets of hula hoops at £1.70.
    The other thing is the lack of basic cookery knowledge people have, it's a basic life skill that often gets neglected and people just don't know how to prepare food properly.

    Banning fast food advertising will do fuck all. Everyone knows where their local MacDonald drive thru is. Banning the adverts isn't going to stop people visiting. It's a stupid idea really.

    Maybe the government should provide cooking classes free to parents and families instead.

    This has nothing to do with money. Just pure lazy, unknowledgeable people who choose convenience over health.

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

  • SpaceOtterSpaceOtter Posts: 66 Boards Initiate
    edited July 19
    Healthy food on its own is cheaper, eg apples compared to hoola hoops. But comparing the cost of all the ingredients in a healthy meal to a premade meal you just need to reheat it’s more expensive. I admit convenience is a big part of what people eat but price does indeed play a big part.

    A report called the broken plate by the food foundation published in 2020 found healthier foods were much more expensive than foods with less fat and salt. It was also found that “ The poorest 20% of UK households would need to spend 39% of their disposable income on food to meet Eatwell Guide costs. This compares to just 8% for the richest 20%.”

    As well as banning fast food adverts during the day another big step would be to make healthy eating more affordable.

    tkdogSkive
  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 11,612 An Original Mixlorian
    edited July 19
    But it's not expensive. Choose right, go frozen over fresh..
    Really winds me up when people use "it's expensive" as an excuse not to eat better. Buy frozen mince, frozen chicken, frozen veg. It's so much cheaper. And stop using named supermarkets and brands. Use food markets, green groceries. To many people spend far to much on named brands.


    Also the government literally give families food vouchers. If you are a low income family and your child is entitled to free school meals at school, during the holidays and half terms, you get £15 per child to go towards your food shopping a week.

    So if you've got 2 kids..that's £30 a week of government money specifically for food shopping.

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

  • tkdogtkdog Posts: 255 The Mix Regular
    edited July 19
    I mean healthy food can be cheap if you buy in bulk especially frozen veg though ofc fresh salads and that are still gonna be more expensive or something that is actually good quality or a large variety of thimgs. Like sure you can get some good stuff at the bargain supermarkets or reduced if you know how or just buy certain things but you are limited.
    The poorest people though have to have a lot of carbs etc rice, pasta whatever.
    Still its tempting just for people to got to mcdonalds etc out of habit as well as just really cheap quality foods that arent necessarily healthy.

    They are also tempted by sweet things and a lot of cakes here i seen add way too much sugar to the point its not even tasty? You also have to learn to budget and be a good spender. But yea part of that is uncessary spending on other things. Food is not that expensive in the UK to be fair compared to some places but price is still one consideration for people and many are swayed too quickly by fast foods and that. Education is what will help I think. Also when you have a family of 4 and you are working a lot with still not a lot of money for many families they don't have time to do very much, but yes cooking lessons for quick recipes would help them. Every child costs a lot, people underestimate how much it costs to raise a child even on the bare minimum or with extra money given. Some people say such people shouldnt have that many children and maybe not (though they made that choice) but it just is how it is.

    By banning advertising I mean not tv advertising or just that but posters of food on the street particularly unhealthy stuff, that encourages people just walking around to want something. They may still know where the shop is but they wont be like omg good deal so tasty etc.

    I don't think food taxes work necessarily cuz yea price is only part of that, people will still buy junk food out of habit and so it just means people paying more for it, unless it helps reform the quality of food. But it might start to push more healthy decisions if implemented in small amounts, perhaps, but it is also about reforming peoples decisions.

    Something like the sugar tax seems to have not worked very well imo even though its been claimed as successful.
  • RuhRuh Posts: 20 Boards Initiate
    I think ur right when u say it’s the convenience and not the cost which makes people eat junk. And why does junk food always taste so much better! Loll. We have so many options to eat from junk places and on the contrary healthy eating places are far and few in comparison - and would u pay to eat a plate of broccoli
  • PinkgubelPinkgubel Posts: 16 Settling in
    If I'm honest I absolutely hate the methods used for healthy eating in the UK.
    I will now tell you what I would do if I were in charge lol:
    - Better mental health support (maybe more breaks at work or shorter working hours or higher wages or shorter school hours of even just more accessible therapy to handle the system). It is shown that being depressed or stressed hugely affects your eating habits to make them more unhealthy or disordered.
    - Stop sugar taxes. People are addicted to added-sugar foods because it is cheap and you tend to eat more unhealthy when you are stressed - or financially stressed. When you raise the prices of sugar, people will just be poorer, more stressed and more likely to eat unhealthy.
    - I wish the government also provided like meal plan examples with realistic, healthy meals at a price low enough for people on minimum wage, and that take little time to prepare. I have yet to see good examples, and I think time of preparation/stress of cooking prevents people from eating healthy too.

    The government just likes to a void the real causes of unhealthy eating and pretend they are trying to help by banning advertisement, taxing people and putting calories on menus (which is absolutely devastating for people with restrictive eating disorders). They need to tackle it at its roots.
    AislingDM
  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 11,612 An Original Mixlorian
    @Pinkgubel
    The government do provide low cost healthy meal plans . You can get them on the NHS website and the change for life campaign.

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

  • PinkgubelPinkgubel Posts: 16 Settling in
    GreenTea wrote: »
    @Pinkgubel
    The government do provide low cost healthy meal plans . You can get them on the NHS website and the change for life campaign.

    That is a really great!! I think the main issue is that I had no idea of this - and therefore a lot of people don't either. I remember when I was younger they had change 4 life adverts, yet I haven't seen one in years haha.
  • PinkgubelPinkgubel Posts: 16 Settling in
    GreenTea wrote: »
    @Pinkgubel
    The government do provide low cost healthy meal plans . You can get them on the NHS website and the change for life campaign.

    Oh and also I have now looked and there are no meal plans (just recipes) on Change4Life. I've seen YouTube videos of people doing their weekly shopping and meal prepping (at like £15-£25 a week) which seems to be more useful - so maybe something like that should be distributed on the NHS website to show in practise how people can eat healthy on a budget - rather than random recipes that have left over ingredients haha
  • AislingDMAislingDM Posts: 264 Moderator
    I think there is quite a large misunderstanding about food/weight/calories in general from healthcare professionals/the government to the general public. Many of the 'healthy eating' plans have not actually been useful as you've said @tkdog , taxing sugar just means richer people can continue to purchase, whilst poorer people are punished. Adding calories at restaurants and on packaging has harmed a lot of people with EDs and also reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what calories represent (i.e., 200 kcals of broccoli will be different to 200 kcals of chocolate). I think initiatives should work on 1) accessible, long-lasting and cheap vegetables and fruit 2) teaching kids from young what macro and micro nutrients are 3) stop mixing up food, weight BMI and health into one discussion because it often just becomes fatphobic and a lot of this rhetoric harms young people's relationships with food 4) making quick cheap 'healthy' meal plans accessible - if you only have half an hour to cook for a family of five, making some healthy roasted butternut squash that takes an hour to cook is impossible.

    I think there is a lot of misinformation out there and demonization of certain foods and a fundamental lack of appreciation for why it is difficult for certain people to access 'healthy foods'. We do not need to make kids think 'chocolate = the devil' in order to reduce their intake of it, so I think showing ads after watershed also does little to help young people. I also disagree that healthy food is cheap, yes raw broccoli and carrots are cheap but most people won't want to regularly eat steamed carrots with nothing on them, you'd like some herbs and spices and to pair it with fish or some carbs or something else to make it a complete meal, this all increases the price. PLUS fruit is certainly not cheap, some are cheaper, like bananas and apples but berries are extremely expensive (£2 for a punnet of strawbs!) and tbh kids like sweet things (because of how their taste buds are developing) so it would be nice if working class families would be able to afford to buy their kids strawberries or a healthier alternative to packets of crisps/chocolate or something.

    Also buying in bulk is a privilege, plus time to prepare is actually difficult. I am not claiming it's impossible to eat 'healthily' unless you're rich, but there is quite a heavy demonization of the working class 'as being unbothered about health' when often that's not the case. TBH cooking can be really difficult and taking time to go shopping is also effortful and obviously time-consuming. I think life is rarely as simple as 'buy better and be smarter', I know that being taught how to cook things that were healthy that i enjoyed was essential to me changing my eating habits. Which is why I fully support cooking initiatives at schools and in the workplace (moreover most cooking initiatives lack diversity in terms of cuisines, which could make people who are learning feel 1) underrepresented 2) bored with the same old Shepard's pie - not that this can't be tasty too!).
    tkdog
  • tkdogtkdog Posts: 255 The Mix Regular
    @AislingDM
    Yea comparing foods by calories is not always useful its often the sort of food that matters and just training yourself to eat helathier. Healthy people don't usually count calories and automatically most of the time go for options that suit them better in terms of health though I can understand why you would want to count them if u are trying to lose weight. Things like using a smaller bowl to eat might help to some extent if you are overeating, I think its important to both develop a sense of intuition in which foods to eat but also make some conscious decisions.

    And even comparing sugars u have to consider the form the sugar is in. I think its important to make clear certain ingredients in foods though and reduce like sugar a tiny bit but I think so far it hasn't been successful in how they have done it. I think people are often used to eating foods that are too sugary so food companies try to suit those tastes, or people find ways to make up for it that aren't necessarily better.

    There are defo some government campaigns but I don't think they are working enough or reaching the right people. Change4life do lots of exercise activities and that though I know of that are great though for sure.

    When you are richer it is easier to buy in bulk at least like proper bulk for sure. Also they can afford to buy precut vegetables (kinda lazy tbh lol) or just order healthier food from shops whereas poorer people have to order cheaper takeaways.
    It is possible to live on a smaller budget though but takes work and planning.

    @Pinkgubel for sure people do stress eat that is an interesting/important point. One thing that helps is healthier snacks.. but in the end taking care of mental health rather than relying on snacks is important for sure.
    AislingDM
  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 11,612 An Original Mixlorian
    Pinkgubel wrote: »
    GreenTea wrote: »
    @Pinkgubel
    The government do provide low cost healthy meal plans . You can get them on the NHS website and the change for life campaign.

    Oh and also I have now looked and there are no meal plans (just recipes) on Change4Life. I've seen YouTube videos of people doing their weekly shopping and meal prepping (at like £15-£25 a week) which seems to be more useful - so maybe something like that should be distributed on the NHS website to show in practise how people can eat healthy on a budget - rather than random recipes that have left over ingredients haha

    There's a document on the NHS website.

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,194 Skive's The Limit
    The link between poverty and a bad diet is well documented. Research consistently demonstrates that low income households find it difficult to adopt healthy eating guidelines. Evidence shows that eating healthily is more expensive. Poor access to shops and inadequate storage and cooking facilities are also a factor for those on a low income – not lack of nutrition knowledge.

    Families with limited incomes are more concerned about hunger and are likely to choose food that is filling over what is high in nutrients. Historical studies of household food purchasing patterns suggest that parents with restricted food budgets would choose food with higher satiety value such as a packet of biscuits at less than 50p, compared to a bag of apples at around £1, as a snack for their children.

    Tackling food poverty requires more than just education. Initiatives that focus on nutrition education, or even on practical food skills, only paper over the cracks of the real issue, which is affordable food and a living wage.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
    tkdogAislingDM
  • AislingDMAislingDM Posts: 264 Moderator
    These are all some extremely insightful points @tkdog and @Skive ! You're beyond right about the heavy links between poverty and some of these types of eating styles. Truly it's such an important conversation to have and it's essential that we have knowledge of the nuanced experiences of different people - I think it's really cool that everyone is open to listening to one another here and gaining from each others' perspectives <3
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