YOUNGSTERS are cooking up a healthy lifestyle with a special holiday scheme.
Children across Sunderland are taking part in free cookery classes being run at a city Tesco.
The supermarket has teamed up with The Children’s Food Trust to run three days of pop-up cooking courses for children at the store on Sunderland Retail Park.
This is the second time the store has hosted the event, which proved very popular last time.
Aimed at youngsters aged five to 11, the courses are part of a long-term ambition to help children have a happier and healthier relationship with food.
Wearside’s Tesco is one of several locations across the country running the cooking courses for a second time.
Teaching children to cook is just as important as teaching them to read and write.Linda Cregan, Children’s Food Trust
Last summer 90 children got involved, rolling up their sleeves to make a range of delicious meals, from couscous salad to mango chicken pittas and tasty tomato pasta.
Let’s Cook, part of The Tesco Eat Happy Project, will help give children the cooking skills to create a variety of healthy, nutritious meals from spaghetti bolognese to fruit kebabs.
As well as providing something educational, fun and free for children to do in the Easter holidays, the courses from Tesco and The Children’s Food Trust will help develop children’s interest in food, creating a passion for cooking that can last a lifetime.
The need for the classes is also backed by research carried out for the launch of the cooking courses in 2014, which found that nearly two thirds of parents from the North East worry that children are growing up without basic cooking skills and food knowledge.
Almost half admitted to spending significantly less time cooking for their children than their parents did, despite the fact that nearly two thirds felt worried about the long term impact of diet on their child’s health.
The study also showed that almost three quarters of children have never boiled an egg, and a quarter have never even made themselves a sandwich.
Linda Cregan, of the Children’s Food Trust, said: “Teaching children to cook is just as important as teaching them to read and write – having the skills and the confidence to make healthy meals from scratch is a skill that sets children up for life.
“As a nation, our cooking skills have been in decades of decline but we’re on a mission to change that, that’s why we’re thrilled to be running these courses once again for Tesco.
“From our work creating thousands of children’s cooking clubs up and down the country, we know just how much children love to cook and how much they take from every session. Parents are often amazed at how much children can do in the kitchen so we hope these sessions will be a brilliant taster of what families can do at home.”