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Sainsbury Tries To ‘Make A Difference’ By Encouraging Summertime Family Meals

Last week, Sainsbury’s in the U.K. had a special “Make a Difference Day” that drew on research indicating that parents find it harder to give their children balanced meals during the summer break:


A new report out today from Sainsbury’s and has revealed that it’s not only school that’s out for summer, but also a balanced diet for Britain’s children.

With 65% of parents admitting that pester power is at full throttle during the summer holidays, and 70% providing quick snacks on the go, it’s not surprising that eight in ten parents find it much harder to provide their kids with a healthy, balanced diet and meal routine. To help parents out, Sainsbury’s has organized a Make the Difference Day on July 19th and is giving away a free magazine bursting with child friendly, balanced recipes, including 10 special recipes from Jamie Oliver.

Sainsbury’s research revealed that parents are enthusiastic about cooking with their children, with 93% saying they can help teach their children about healthy eating if they cook together, and eight out of ten agreeing that when they cook with their children they are more likely to all sit down together for a family dinner, which is vitally important in maintaining a routine over the holiday period.

Dr Pat Spungin, founder of parenting website, adds “Results show that when families cook together they eat together, and having family meal times is something that nine out of 10 parents think brings them closer as a family.” Research carried out by Sainsbury’s Active Kids scheme revealed that families who eat together have 30% fewer arguments than those who rarely share meal times. “The easiest way to get your children interested in healthy food is to engage them at the earliest age and get in the kitchen and cook with them.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 72% of respondents cited ice-cream as the top treat requested by children between meals, followed by sweets and crisps
  • Children are spending up to 2 weeks away from home, which has led to 65% of parents feeling concerned that they are consuming hidden treats away from home
  • 7 out of 10 adults admitted that their shopping basket changes over the summer with 50% buying more treats, 44% buying more ice-cream
  • The summer health map of Britain suggests that the most balanced diets will be consumed in the North, North East and West Midlands and the least balanced will be in the East Midlands

Gwyn Burr, customer director, Sainsbury’s comments:

Parents shouldn’t stop treating their children over the summer holidays, but it is important to maintain a balanced diet. Sainsbury’s Make the Difference Day aims to inspire parents to get children involved in cooking their own balanced treats and meals, encouraging understanding of cooking and eating healthy food whilst also showing it can be lots of fun. Cooking together can also provide an exciting indoor activity to occupy children during those wetter days.”

The Make the Difference, Sainsbury’s Magazine, includes tantalising fun recipes from sticky drumsticks with mustard and honey and raspberry lemonade to little blueberry cakes plus 10 top recipes from Jamie Oliver spanning beef and vegetable stir fry to raspberry and kiwi crumble with rolled oats and an exciting treasure hunt soup.

Some of the top tips included in the Make the Difference Sainsbury’s Magazine are:

  • Choosing lower calorie ice-creams, like Wall’s Mini Milks which are under 50 calories or opting for ice-lollies which also count towards your child’s fluid intake
  • Planning lunches in advance, rather than creating something in a flash and choosing lunch fillings like cottage cheese, tinned tuna with flat-leaf parsley, balsamic vinegar and spring onions,
  • Choosing lower calorie snacks, like pretzels, and have lots of healthy fresh and dried fruit and vegetable sticks to hand
  • Try to sit down and eat family meals as regularly as possible
  • Limit your children to the 80/20 rule when it comes to junk food, 80% of the time help your children make healthy choices, for the remaining 20% of the time allow them to enjoy a treat or two
  • Keep the kids hydrated with diluted fruit juices, sparkling water and milk

It is a bit ironic that Sainsbury’s selected to feature recipes by Jamie Oliver for this promotion as he is the chef behind new healthier meals in British schools that, as we highlighted here, are being rejected by British school kids.

It is hard to believe that Sainsbury’s advice to parents with children is to be “…choosing lunch fillings like cottage cheese, tinned tuna with flat-leaf parsley, balsamic vinegar and spring onions…” If British kids are at all like American kids, those menu items alone would probably cure childhood obesity once and for all!

At least they also urge parents to “…have lots of healthy fresh and dried fruit and vegetable sticks to hand …”

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