Everyone agrees on the theory of feeding kids well. The challenge is putting it into practice
School food: healthy meals must be a priority. Photograph: Getty Images
I have tried hard to turn my children into little foodies. Our eldest, George aged four, has his own tiny vegetable patch in our back garden, in which he and I have grown radishes, lettuces and wild strawberries. I taught him how to knock limpets off their rocks and chew on their briny flesh; he has even helped me butcher a pig. And yet, if left to his own devices, he would subsist entirely on Cadbury Fingers. His evolutionary instinct to gorge on sugary, fatty foods at every opportunity is simply too strong to be overridden by his tender will. He has not, to my knowledge, come face to face with a Turkey Twizzler, but if he did I am sure it would be love at first sight.
So I have a lot of sympathy, both personal and professional, with those people whose job it is to produce healthy food on a tight budget for schoolchildren, and then persuade them to eat it. In my work at Leon – a restaurant chain whose aim is to serve fast food that tastes good and does you good – we can reasonably assume that the people who come through our doors actually want to eat our food. But the logistics of producing it – fresh, consistent and to a budget – are sometimes maddeningly difficult.