Ronan O’Gara launched this year’s Ben’s Beginners programme, which seeks to encourage Irish mums and dads to get cooking with their children, and nurture a lifelong love for wholesome food. Ben’s Beginners believes that when parents and children move from setting the table to cooking together, it leads to a better relationship with food, with healthy meal preparation and with each other.
Introducing children to the food they eat is crucial to nurturing their relationship with healthy food as recent research undertaken by Ben’s Beginners indicates that in children under seven years:
– 30% could not identify a red pepper and 85% cannot correctly name a leek
– Nine out of ten children can identify broccoli but only 58% can correctly identify courgettes
– Only a third of children surveyed knew what chips are made from
– One in three could identify what animal ham was made from
Like most parents, Ben’s Beginners believes that introducing children to the food they eat builds a better, more sustainable relationship with healthy food in the long term. To help families get cooking the programme begins with a cooking contest to inspire families to create a child-friendly rice recipe and upload it to the Uncle Ben’s Facebook page to share their passion for healthy eating. All those who enter are in with the opportunity to win €5,000 cash prize for them and their family plus a €10,000 donation for their school to fund a healthy initiative.
Speaking at launch, Ronan O’Gara commented; “Good nutrition played a crucially important role in my training schedule in my sporting career. Now as parent, I place huge importance in cooking healthy meals for my kids, but at the end of the day it is about being sensible. I don’t have the skill or inspiration of a professional chef, but I do have recipes in my back pocket that I know my family love”.
Ronan working with TV chef Phelim Byrne has created a number of recipes to get families cooking. All are posted on the Uncle Ben’s facebook page along with details of the competition – www.facebook.com/UncleBensIreland