Below Kate Ryan, a food writer and founder of Flavour.ie, shares what she is doing to counter the growing issue.
I’m Kate Ryan, I’m originally from Bristol in the UK but have spent the past 12 years living in beautiful West Cork in Ireland – the centre of the artisan food movement on the Island of Ireland.
Earlier this year, inspired by the theme of the 2017 Food Revolution Day, I teamed up with West Cork Eggs and Alison Kingston Health Coach to deliver a new initiative to encourage replacing sugary breakfasts cereals and spreads in favour of an Eggsellent Breakfasts to tackle child obesity.
Ireland has a growing epidemic of childhood obesity with 1 in 10 children classed as obese. The long term health and wellness issues that chronic obesity can cause can be reversed, and one major way to do this is to decrease our intake of processed and synthetic SUGAR!
Setting your day up with a proper breakfast that is balanced, healthy but still delicious is one eggsellent way to start tackling obesity. How? Children whose breakfast is mainly sugary cereals (this would also include granola and other boxed cereals), or sweet spreads such as jam or milk chocolate spreads, do not provide enough good stuff to wake up and sustain their bodies and brains all the way until lunchtime without reaching for snacks for a quick energy boost.
By making one simple change to how we treat the most important meal of the day, such as choosing eggs for breakfast, we can make a huge difference! Not only are eggs the most natural whole food we can eat, they also provide huge amounts of important vitamins, minerals and macro nutrients, such as protein, which can help to keep fuller for longer as well as keeping our brains and bodies alert – important for children who are expected to keep up with the demands of study and sport as part of a normal school day.
The #EggsellentBreakfasts Initiative message of the importance of a healthy, balanced breakfast that is free from processed sugar is made simple for children and parents to adopt. We decided to focus on eggs as our ideal breakfast because they are awesome little bundles of goodness; quick to cook, versatile and an inexpensive and accessible food.
We visited our first school in May 2017, and have since reached 250 students and 150 parents and children who came to our presentation at the Cork Summer Show – the region’s largest and oldest agricultural show.
We have done this with very little funding support and volunteering our own time. The response has been phenomenal, but in order to keep going and get to even more schools we need to connect with a fund or a sponsor. Can my fellow Food Ambassadors help? Useful hints, tips and advice would be greatly appreciated – especially those Ambassadors with experience of applying for funding or sponsorship in Republic of Ireland.
The Eggsellent Breakfasts initiative includes a cookery demonstration of our American Style Blueberry and Honey Pancakes; a nutritional talk and an informative talk about where eggs come from and why free range is best.
At the end of the presentation, children taste the pancakes, meet a hen (and sometimes Henrietta even lays an egg in class!), and a goodie bag containing a box of Caroline’s farm fresh eggs, and our specially created Eggsellent Breakfasts booklet containing loads of Eggsellent Facts and 5 egg-based breakfast recipes that are quick and easy to make!
We encourage Questions from the children, teachers and parents and have created the hashtag #EggsellentBreakfasts for people to share their Eggsellent Breakfast experiences!