Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Sunday lunch 'a thing of the past'

Children now eat pre-prepared foods such as chips or pizza twice a week, according to a new poll

A family Sunday lunch could soon be a thing of the past as three-fifths of mothers admit they no longer prepare and eat a meal with their families on Sundays, a poll has suggested.

Nearly all the women surveyed said they use pre-prepared foods, such as chicken nuggets, chips or pizza, when cooking meals for their children.

Just 90 out of 2,000 UK mothers questioned said that their family never eats such foods.

The poll, conducted by the Government's healthy living campaign Change4Life, found that on average children eat such foods twice a week.

New research was published on Thursday highlighting links between processed meat and heart disease and cancer. The study, involving half a million people, found that over a typical follow-up time of 12.7 years, the risk of dying was 44% greater for high processed meat consumers.

The Change4Life poll, released as part of a campaign to encourage families to cook from scratch, found that time pressures were stopping many mothers from cooking fresh meals. And 71% said they prepare convenience foods because they are quicker to prepare.

Dietitian Azmina Govindji, from the British Dietetic Association, said: "It's understandable that over time eating habits change and that the time-pushed mums of today aren't necessarily going to approach cooking family dinners in the way their own mothers once did.

"However, many takeaways and processed foods can contain high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat, so shoppers need to be encouraged to buy healthier options and shown how, even with demands on their time, they can make meals for their families.

"Although there are many modern trends that make life easier, we could all benefit from remembering how our own mothers cooked and prepared meals from scratch, which would help us all eat a little healthier.

"Making quick meals yourself using easy-to-hand ingredients helps you to be more aware of what's going into your food and helps ensure you and your family avoid any hidden nasties."

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