Government’s Change 4 Life food campaign blasted as ‘half-baked and dangerous’Healthy eating initiative backed by leading supermarkets and celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott
Concern raised over recommended dishes
Cauliflower cheese recipe uses packet sauce
A 1.4 million government scheme to promote healthy eating on a budget has been slammed by nutritionists.
The Change 4 Life initiative, which is backed by leading supermarkets and spearheaded by celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott, urges the nation to rustle up a range of dishes from chilli con carne to cheese turnovers.
But, although they contain a low calorie content, experts are warning that many of the recipes use processed and unhealthy ingredients.
The government's Change 4 Life campaign to promote healthy eating, which is spearheaded by Ainsley Harriott, has been slammed by nutritionists
One recipe in particular for cauliflower cheese, has raised concern as it advises people to use a packet sauce as a way of saving time.
A packet of cheese sauce from the Co-op – one of the
participating supermarkets – reportedly contains 13 ingredients including cheese powder made from additives regularly used in processed foods, to extend shelf life.
A serving of the sauce – which is meant to serve four people – has a high salt content and almost half the
government’s recommended daily allowance of saturated fat.
Nutritionist Helen Money said it is positive that people are being encouraged to adopt healthier lifestyles, but she is 'disappointed' by many of the recipes featured
in the new campaign.
The Change 4 Life initiative urges the nation to cook up a range of dishes from chilli con carne to cauliflower cheese
She told MailOnline: 'I would not advise my clients to eat the sauce as described.
'The campaign is trying to suggest quick easy meals for people to cook when they get home from work but there are much healthier meals that can be cooked quickly and easily.'
She added: 'I also do not like the term supermeals and if using it at all, I would not classify meals such as this in it.'
Meanwhile nutritional therapist Charlotte Watts, told the Metro: ‘This is a highly processed, denaturalised version of a meal that most people already make fresh from the ingriedients in their fridge.
‘Putting a healthy label on it is not just half baked, it is dangerous.’
Asda, CoOp and Aldi stores across the UK are offering discounts on a number of basics such as fruit, vegetables and fish as part of the campaign.
Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott has also helped devise a cookbook featuring a collection of healthy dishes that can be created for less than 5.
Despite backing from national supporters shadow public health minister Diane Abbott also agreed the campaign is flawed.
She said: 'They're calling this public health but it's just a glorified advertisement for big business.'
However public health minister Anne Milton, unmoved by the criticism, said: 'The new year is a good time to think about losing weight.
'Some areas in inner cities are fresh food deserts so families fall into eating takeaway chicken and chips.'
A Department of Health spokesperson also defended the choice of ingredients adding: 'The point of the campaign is to help families to make quick, healthy, inexpensive meals.
'Making meals from scratch can take time and be a bit more expensive. Sometimes shortcuts can help.'