Jamie Oliver: 'Knowledge is Power' When It Comes To Eating Healthy

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has long been on a mission to bring healthy eating to the masses.

His work not only revolutionised schools in his home country of England, but is now making a difference on our own shores.

In 2001, the celebrity chef started the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation - a project spawned from a desire to tackle childhood obesity.

"When Poppy [Jamie's daughter] was born, I started thinking about what my kids would be eating at school and that got me thinking about the terrible quality of school dinners in general," he told LifeStyle FOOD.

"It all just developed from that point. The more you find out about the food industry and the associated problems of obesity and diet-related disease, the more you realise that action has to be taken, and urgently."



We're excited to announce our 2nd Indigenous community visit. After trialling the #JMOFAustralia program and adjusting it in consultation with community in Cherbourg last year we are thrilled to announce the next Indigenous location as Mossman Gorge in Queensland. This is the most northerly the program has been. It means a great deal to us to deliver this program in the communities that need it most. Regional, remote and Indigenous communities suffer higher rates of diet related disease and we'd like to be part of the solution to turn that trend around. @sbs_australia has written a great article on our next visit if you're interested in reading more visit: ow.ly/4ndHEp #indigenous #aboriginal #health #aboriginalhealth

A photo posted by JMOFAustralia (@jmofaustralia) on

May 20 marks Jamie's Food Revolution Day - a day to unite and encourage people to take care of their bodies through delicious, nutritious food.

To help tackle this issue, Jamie asks people lobby governments and business to create permanent change in how we buy, sell, cook and view food. 

Among those lending a hand this Food Revolution Day is Australian chef Donna Hay, who will be hosting a live cooking demonstration on her Facebook page at 7:30pm on Friday.

Donna is proud advocate of simple recipes everyone can cook at home - a philosophy she brings to life in her upcoming series Donna Hay: Basics to Brilliance

Among Jamie's other projects Down Under is his Ministry of Food organisation, which includes a group of centres and food trucks dedicated to teaching young people to cook wholesome meals.

We spoke to Jamie about his healthy eating philosophy and what he cooks for his own kids when at home. Jamie has four children with his wife Juliette, and is expecting a fifth in August.

Q: Why is food education so important?  

A: Knowledge is power. If you’ve never learnt about food, where it comes from and how it affects your body, then you’re unlikely to make informed, healthy choices. It’s got to the point where people see cooking as too difficult or expensive or time consuming. But if you give people access to food education, and give them that knowledge, they suddenly realise that cooking good, fresh food is none of those things – it’s actually simple, it’s often cheaper and it’s really delicious.

Q: How do you teach your children about food? What’s the most important message that you deliver to them? 

A: My kids have always been given fresh food so they know no different. As soon as they are on solids, Jools or I will make sure they’re eating the same meals as everyone else - introducing them to the full range of tastes and textures.

It’s also so important to get the kids involved in cooking and prepping meals. If they have ownership over what they’re eating, then they’re much more likely to try it.

Buddy, for example, is a little ninja with herbs. I asked him to learn all the herbs in the garden - about 70 of them! - by sight, smell and taste and he knows them all now. He’s only five.

Q: What do you think is the one key attitude around food that has to change?

A: The belief that cooking from scratch is too difficult or too expensive. It isn’t. If you have the basic skills, you can knock out a delicious, fresh meal for a fraction of the price of a family takeaway. A lot of people already know this but it’s important to spread that knowledge to everybody.

Q: What’s the biggest misconception people have about eating healthily and how do  you think we can change this?

A: I think a lot of people think “healthy” equals “boring”, but actually some of the most exciting food is good for you. I’m filming my next TV series about the world’s healthiest communities at the moment, which means I’m travelling a lot, and it’s absolutely fascinating seeing how different cultures view healthy food. In some places, people are active and healthy well into their 90s – nutritious food is the norm. They wouldn’t know what a chicken nugget was. They simply wouldn’t recognise it as food.

Q: What’s the key to cooking healthy food at home? 

A: Just make sure everything is fresh and you have lots of vegetables in your weekly diet. I’m not vegetarian, and I love meat and fish, but I do have about three days in the week when I only cook veggie-based meals. It’s so much cheaper, it’s really good for you and it’s incredible how delicious it can be.

Q: List three things that you always have in your fridge? 

A: Milk, cheese, and usually fresh fish of some sort.

Q: List three things parents should teach their kids about healthy eating. 

A: 1) Get your kids into vegetables as early as possible, and make them try all different types and colours – eat the rainbow.

2) Make sure they understand that, although cake is delicious, it’s a treat to be enjoyed on special occasions rather than every day.

3) There is no place for sugary-sweetened drinks in a child’s diet. Get them into water. You can liven it up with fresh fruit and make it exciting, and best of all, it’s free!

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