Ditch the junk

Kathie Auton - 28 April 2014

This week Organix is launching the No Junk campaign and are calling on parents to take on the challenge of ditching the junk from their family's food for a week and, instead, feeding the kids with real food. Real food that contains ingredients like 'tomatoes' instead of polymonoglockenspieldioxide*. They want us to read the label and reject any food that has ingredients we don't recognise or can't spell.

It’s a relatively simple idea, but one that reveals a lot about so much of the food we buy; food that's often aimed at kids but chock full of unpronounceables. It's a campaign that's all about good food for children. Last year Organix worked with the Soil Association on the Out To Lunch campaign, which took restaurant chains to task about junk on their kids menu. And this No Junk campaign is another rung on the ladder towards better food for kids.

I went shopping this morning to stock up on junk-free food ready for the week. Now, I see myself as a pretty sensible shopper, but I didn't realise that even something as simple as 'ham' could have a lengthy ingredients list. I found noodles with pointless colouring in them. Healthy sounding 'sugar free' drinks with a chemistry set's worth of weird sound ingredients. Often it was the so-called 'children’s food' that was the worst. How has this happened? So, I for one am looking forward to this week. A bit of back-to-basics cooking and eating.

The Soil Association has long supported the idea of 'good food for all', and perhaps if plenty of people take the no junk pledge it will another strong call to the food industry and the government to get a bit of a grip with food ingredients and labelling. We do want tough controls on salt, fat, sugar and artificial additives.

Things to reduce from Organix

So, if you're game for a challenge, why not sign up too? You might already be pretty good at avoiding the junk, but do you check the labels for sinister sounding ingredients? And how about switching a few things over to organic versions? Luckily organic standards mean that you'll automatically avoid a lot of the junk. You could swap heavily salted crisps for unsalted ones too. Get some nice dried fruit instead of sweeties. And, if you fancy something sweet to get you through the week, you might like these Yoghurt Topped Raspberry Flapjacks.

If you're not sure where to start, there are some tips here. Organix suggests planning and shopping for meals with your child, obviously this can be done online if you're pressed for time. Get your kids involved in the cooking too, an obvious one, but something that can make such a different when it comes to willingness to try new things. So, do you think you can do it? A week without junk?

What tips have you got for no junk family food?

* I may have made that one up

Kathie has two young children and is taking a break from teaching to be a full-time mum. She is passionate about cooking and growing good food and takes any opportunity to get her kids involved in the kitchen.

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28 April 2014 09:07

I think it is a lot easier to control the junk when kids are small. The more they become socialised at school, by their peers, by supermarkets and TV, the harder it is. That is why I totally support Organix campaign to regulate the food industry. It can't just be down to the parents!

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