Department for Education
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Turkey twisters - healthy festive food to cook with the kids this Christmas

Children fed up with soggy sprouts and mediocre mince pies can look forward to tasty treats this Christmas with new recipes from a new cookbook was launched by Ed Balls yesterday.

From turkey twisters to clementine and cranberry muffins, the Children’s Secretary is launching a revamped version of the successful Real Meals cookbook, bursting with delicious and nutritious recipes, which has been sent to over 500,000 11-12 year olds in the last year alone.

Speaking ahead of the launch in Covent Garden, Ed Balls said:

As the grown-ups gear up for a festive season full of flavour, it’s important parents ensure their children are involved in cooking up a feast and I hope with these new recipes the whole family can cook together this Christmas.

I have been delighted with the success of the Real Meals cookbook series so far and hope that the new edition is just as successful. I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen with my children, and I know many other parents do too. But I hope that with these cookbooks parents feel inspired to expand on what is being taught in schools across the country, by helping children to learn how to cook healthy meals from scratch.

Research continues to show that obesity is the biggest issue facing our country and it is vital that children and young people have the skills and knowledge they need to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. With over 850 new and revamped play sites open for the Christmas holidays families can wrap up warm and have some festive fun before returning to a delicious meal the whole family has prepared together. 

The Real Meals cookbook contains seven new festive recipes for families to feast on over the Christmas holidays, alongside the most popular recipes from the first Real Meals cookbook. Recipes are available to download from the DCSF Publications website.

Further information

  1. The new cookbook is free to all year seven pupils.
  2. This is part of the Government's wider fight against childhood obesity. The Government's Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy, published in January 2008, aims to reduce the proportion of overweight and obese children by 2020.
  3. School Food offered in primary, secondary and special schools has to meet mandatory nutrient-based standards.
  4. We have overhauled food technology classes at school to give children better practical opportunities to learn to prepare and cook a healthy meal. Since September 2008, 85 per cent of schools have offered the food technology curriculum, with a greater emphasis on food preparation, and all 11-16 year olds are now entitled to cook.
  5. The Play Strategy (Dec 2008) set out the Government's plans to invest £235m of new money by 2011 to deliver 3,500 new or refurbished play spaces and 30 new adventure playgrounds. This investment in innovative and stimulating local play areas will focus on the needs of 8-13 year olds and will increase their opportunities to be active.

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