Junior Cooks Club is our new campaign to promote healthy eating habits among the nation’s children. Through fun, hands-on cooking lessons we want to increase children’s confidence and knowledge, equipping them with life skills for a healthier, happier future.

Junior Cooks Club is a collaboration between Cook School and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). We came together through our shared belief that it’s never too early to develop healthy habits, and that good food and nutrition play a vital role in enhancing the life chances of the nation’s children. 

Amanda Grant, Cook School co-founder and award-winning food writer and cookbook author, says: “Our partnership with WCRF is a great fit – we’re both totally passionate about educating about good food. It’s so important to eat healthily, but it needs to be easy, accessible and affordable too, otherwise those lessons can easily fall by the wayside.

Demystifying healthy eating for kids

“Teaching children how to cook vegetables also encourages them to eat a much wider variety. You’d be amazed how much more keen a child is to eat a salad they’ve helped prepare themselves. It demystifies things a bit. We’ve seen students’ self-esteem and self-confidence blossoming as they learn to cook independently. It’s really good to see.”

Junior Cooks Club will provide schools with free lessons that children can cook along with, plus teachers’ notes and an ingredients list – making it as easy as possible for teachers, while ensuring classes are linked to the curriculum. All recipes have been checked by WCRF nutritionists and children will get to take home a pack of resources to encourage repeat cooking at home.

Obesity crisis

Childhood obesity is a huge issue, and one which we urgently need to tackle. One in five children in the UK are overweight or obese when they start primary school, which rises to one in three by the time they leave.1 Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be so in adulthood too, which leads to a greater risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.2

We’re ready to deliver our first pilot of the programme and will keep you informed of developments. For more information about Junior Cooks Club, email informed@wcrf.org.

> Check out Eat Move Learn, our healthy eating resources for 7–11 year olds

References

1NHS Digital. National Child Measurement Programme, England 2019/20 School Year. 2020.

2WCRF/AICR. Body fatness and weight gain and the risk of cancer. 2018.