Are You Ready To Ditch The Beef For…

It’s a tough job getting children to eat healthy in our line of work, so our staff sit with the children and eat fruit during snack in order to encourage children to be adventurous in their taste buds. Did you know it takes at least 14 times for a child to try a new food before they begin to get used to it? We do!

What we do is blend down every vegetable we can to get the vital nutrients into the kids without them realising they are actually eating it. This way we do our best to ensure children are getting a variety of Power Foods throughout the day in every meal with a reduced amount of meat (even if it is organic and nitrate free).

With all of our activities and daily living skills introduced to the children the result from them picking fruit, vegetables and herbs fill us with glee. It’s so great to see children reaching for broccoli steams to put on their plates – we referred to as baby trees – and talking about where vegetables come from.

This had encouraged us 2 months ago to ensure that all lunches provided in Juniors will be Vegetarian and Vegan. Not always an easy task but we are doing everything we can to live by our core belief of looking after the well being of every child.

So why can this be difficult?

Teenagers and adults alike are able to make these decisions themselves but children are handed the food that grownups feel they should eat. Over the past 10 years many studies have been carried out on the dietary state of our children in particular  Public Health England reveals that one in ten children aged five is obese where there is the scary reality that by the time they leave primary school, this figure doubles to nearly one in five. A staggering 4.3 million of the UK’s 13 million children are overweight or obese.

With our healthy meal options; not only does this helps each and every individual child but is of great benefit to families and the environment.

 A report released by the World Health Organization warns that processed meats rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer. Elisa Allen, director of PETA UK, says: “According to the findings, 50g of processed meat a day – the equivalent of one sausage or less than two slices of bacon – increases the chance of developing bowel cancer by 18 per cent.

Eating less meat is likely to help with many areas of your health, and another one of the top benefits is you’ll be looking after your heart. “Eating foods with animal fats in is literally killing us,” says Elisa. “Coronary heart disease, which is linked to a meat-based diet, is the leading cause of death in the UK.”

The good news is that we can help prevent the majority of cardiovascular diseases simply by adopting a plant-based diet.” While diving right in and giving up meat altogether might be daunting at first, one day a week is a good start and could make you feel like you’re heading towards a healthier lifestyle. Meat production is a leading cause of climate change, water depletion, soil erosion and most other environmental problems, according to United Nations scientists. Elisa says: “Forget energy-efficient light bulbs or hybrid cars – the best thing we can do to help the environment is to stop eating animal flesh.”

Eating vegetables and grains directly instead of funnelling them through animals uses far less land and water – and that’s why the UN has said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from the worst effects of climate change. Who are we to argue with them? Of course, you might think one day a week won’t make much difference, but every little helps. More than half the world’s crops are used to feed farmed animals, not people. “That’s a hugely inefficient way to feed the world’s more than 7 billion inhabitants (more than 1 billion of whom currently go hungry),” says Elisa. So, you could do your bit and eat the crops directly, rather than eat the animals – it’s much more sustainable. And you’re bound to feel good about yourself by doing it.

We all try to do as much as we possibly can to reduce our carbon footprint as the impact has increasingly become a grave concern for the future of our beautiful planet. The time is now to educate our children into practices of respecting our environment as much as possible. If you’re an advocate for making a difference to the future generation it all begins with what we do – not what we say we are going to do. In keeping with our Climate Strategies and Waste Management Policy here are a few things the Juniors & The Hangout have begun: 

*Instead of buying lots of new stuff, source eco friendly resources or recycle resources to be reused.  *Turn off all appliances at the plug, nothing should be on standby!

*Wear a jumper when it’s cold or when it is warm or open a window when it is cool instead of using air conditioning: turning off the heating system when the weather is warm. 

*Eat your veggies: live stock such as cows account for some of earth’s heat trapping gas emissions –Methane. Eating more plants cuts down on the need for so much livestock.

*Close the doors: An opened door to an air conditioned building can let 22 tons of carbon dioxide escape over one summer. That’s about as much as a car on a 5,000 mile road trip! Turn off the air con and open the windows. Not closing doors properly also lets out heating that is being used around buildings encouraging people to use more heating.

 *Walk, bike or use public transport as much as you can. The 2017 report indicated the largest sector for emitting greenhouse gases came from transport. Walking or biking just 1 mile a day for a year could save 330 pounds of carbon dioxide – that’s the same as planting four trees and letting then grow for 10 years. 

*Season your fruit: try to eat most in season locally grown fruit and vegetables. This cuts down on the energy used to grow and transport food, which reduces the release of heat trapping gases.

*Ditch the plastic: not only by using reusable fabric bags but even once a week try a plastic free day that everything you use or purchase is plastic free or free from plastic packaging.  *Hang up your clothes instead of using a tumble dryer.

 *Calculate your impact on WWF carbon footprint calculator. If you know your impact you can take steps to reduce it. 

*Switch to reusable nappies and biodegradable wipes. It takes up to 500 years for a nappy to decompose because they are filled with harsh chemicals and plastics! Not only will you reduce the landfill in our areas but you will also save money, no matter how cheap the nappy is it is making a very expensive impact on our children’s future. 

 *Make an allotment even at home: not only will you be able to use your own home grown produce for your meals you will also educate your children that the earth can give back when we look after it. 

*Re-use your old coffee granules as a slug repellent for your crops in your planters- it’s organic and free from nasty chemicals!

 *Plant large patches of flowers that Bee’s love, like wildflowers and native species. Even dandelions are excellent bee plants, providing vital pollen early in the season.  White clover attracts masses of honeybees, while the longer tongued bumblebees prefer Red Clover.

 *Build and insect house in your garden! They are especially good for lacewings and ladybirds. These two species are very important in the garden as lacewing larvae and adult ladybirds and larvae consume insect pests.

*Plant trees:  lots of trees! If you are in a location like ours there are a lot of busy roads, so we plant as many trees as we possibly can to reduce the Carbon dioxide in the air which is being emitted by vehicles.

We would love to hear from how you are doing this at home with your kids; whether that’s a Plastic Free Friday or having a vegetarian day once a week. Please send in your photographs so that we can show everyone how we are working towards a better future for all children!

Pictured: Banana Blossom Burger. From Jill

‘I love hearing about all the different types of food my son gets to try when he’s at Juniors. As a busy working mum it’s really comforting to know that he’s getting good nutritious food into him throughout the day and not the same processed stuff 5 days a week. It’s one less thing I have to worry about and know that his nutrition is taken care of. The variety he gets also makes him more open to trying new foods when we cook them at home or if we are out somewhere. It’s wonderful that the staff send out the menus for the week to us because then it’s easier to plan his tea in the evenings when I know what he’s been given that day. Happy Child = Happy Mummy!’

– Klaraghkaitlyn Mulvey, Varsity Mum