JAMIE Oliver’s food foundation is wrong to call for school bake sales to be banned according to one nutritionist – who has accused the celeb chef of trying to “have his cake and eat it”.
Jamie also suggested food education is undermined with kids being bribed to attend class with doughnuts and pizza.
While fitness nutritionist Rick Hay, known as The Superfoodist, has a lot of time for some of Jamie’s past healthy eating endeavours, this time around he believes the star has got it wrong.
Rick used to be a primary school teacher, and he’s convinced helping kids learn about nutrition is the key to battling obesity.
Here, he explains why Jamie is dead wrong to call for any food to be banned, especially when he offers calorie-rich desserts at his restaurant and recipes in his cook books.
“If you’re going to say, ‘Let’s ban bake sales for kids,’ then really you should be leading by example.
“I think Jamie does do some good stuff, he’s got a nice book out on Superfoods, but it’s almost like he wants his cake and to eat it too. He wants to say, ‘They’re bad,’ and yet, ‘Come to my restaurant and have high fat, high sugar.’ That’s a classic obesity trap.
“A lot of the recipes have really high fat, sugar and carb. A lot of them are coming in at 500, 600, 700, 800 kilocalories. I think it would be much better if he had more healthier options on his own menus.
“He’s certainly got calorific dessert on his menus, left right and centre. Cheesecakes – high fat, high sugar, high carb options.
“I know he’s trying to do the right thing with kids, however, it may be more reasonable to not ban things outright and let people have treats. That’s what it’s all about. Not every child is obese and can’t have the cake.
“He’s being too drastic. Treats are fine, the schools don’t have the bake sales every day, they are a treat and as such they don’t pose a serious threat.
“The problem is what the kids do every day, and more what their parents are doing at home.
“Even if the sales were weekly, one cake once a week – I think it’s OK.
“As long as it was monitored and the kids were getting one cake, not 50, I don’t have a problem with that. And as long as they’re doing physical education as well. They have to move.
“I always give treats. I don’t think we need to ban stuff, I think we need to educate people about it.
“If we ban kids from cakes they’re going to think they’re even more desirable, there’ll be a black market in cakes!
“I’m not really one for banning stuff, I’m more for educating people not to do it too often.
We can go too far and start demonising food and then no one’s going to listen to us, they’re just going to switch off
Rick Hay, Nutrionist
“Maybe we need to get kids moving more, and do more physical education at school and educate them on too much sugar being bad if you’re overweight or obese.
“I do think we do need healthier food in schools, I’m with Jamie on that. Some of the schools don’t have the healthiest of options, so I’d be looking at the school menu rather than banning anything.
‘Jamie has a point – but moderation is key,’ by Sun nutritionist Amanda Ursell
“On the one hand I do agree with him that it’s a shame schools have to make money out of cake scales. If they are once a week I can see his point, but if children are just eating them once a week as part of a healthy diet there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. You have to see it in the context of what else children are eating over a day, a week.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if people have a knee-jerk reaction of saying, ‘Why does he cook sugar-packed pudding?’
“If they’re having a cake sale once a week, parents can count that towards their child’s sugar during the day – which is what I used to do. As a parent you can control the context.
“You know the sale is happening because you have to give them money to go in with. Just make sure they don’t overdo their sugar for the day.
“Nobody is saying kids can’t have any sugar, they’re saying there’s a limit. It’s 24g a day for kids between seven and ten.
“In the context of a balanced diet, it’s possible for cake sales to be fun for children and good for the school too.
“I don’t ban anything, but I try really hard to get the balance right. I think if you are making the really obvious changes, like cutting out fizzy drinks and all the extra sweets, kids can have sugar.”
“I do a lot of healthy diet plans but I always let my clients have a day off. We can go too far and start demonising food and then no one’s going to listen to us, they’re just going to switch off.
“I think we need to be really careful, too. The whole Instagram craze of clean eating can go too far.
“We don’t want to make kids, especially young girls, think that a muffin a couple of times a week when they’re growing is a bad thing. It’s not the end of the world.
“Sugar does help with cognitive performance, to a degree. The glucose, has a role in fuelling the brain. A little bit isn’t too bad, it’s when they’re having too much.
“I’m more concerned about them going to a coffee shop for a latte and it has 20 teaspoons of sugar, or whatever it is, in it. That’s more the worry. Most of the cakes aren’t going to have 1,000 teaspoons of sugar.
“It’s a hard one because we’re living in a time when we want and need people to eat healthier, but we also need them to not get pressured into anything bad.
“Look back to the 50s – kids in the 50s had cakes didn’t they?”
If you’re looking for some meal inspiration, check out these one-dish meals that will cut down on the washing up.