Allyson Gofton muesli bars + recipe
I suspect for most people, supermarket shopping doesn’t rate highly on the preferred after-work activities list, and I get that. I, on the other hand, bore my kids witless when I see new products, variants or brands reshaping the layouts of the supermarkets. It’s a window into the changing world of how we buy what we eat. Today I see shelves growing and groaning with more packets, more heat and eat, more cost and doubtful nutrition claims.
Right now — and excuse my musings this week — we hear whisperings emanating from Wellington of a sugar tax. No tax on sugar was a promise made prior to the election, but government promises are an oxymoron in any language. Rarely do taxes work to deter us from buying what we want; and wanting is very different to needing. When it comes to eating, what we need is simple, nutritional and satisfying food, something best achieved by being able to cook.
I hate to hark back to yesteryear, so please forgive me for sounding out of date, but what happened to Home Economics? Sure, the name might have been dowdy and maybe even the curriculum out of step with the changing prêt à manger world, but kids still need to have instruction in the basics of living healthfully. In a world where both parents work, where more kids are raised in homes with only one parent, where we want dinner on the table in 10 minutes (I know!), we need more than ever to teach our kids how to buy, how to peel and how to cook the jolly spud.
Without an ABC of basic life skills, tomorrow’s kids will buy prepared curries, rather than making them. They’ll not know how to read nor understand the nutrition label. They’ll open up a bento-like box of nutritionally deficient, wrapped offerings for lunch, rather than transform leftovers into creative sandwich fillings. They’ll only ever buy muesli bars rather than baking cereal mixes into bespoke energy bars worth swapping the bought versions for.
It’s not that I don’t occasionally reach for packet food — I’m no saint when it comes to taking short cuts when life gets busy — but without the skills to budget, prepare and cook, a healthy future for tomorrow’s kids is not a given. A sugar tax by itself, without a plan that places educating our kids in life skills at the forefront, will achieve little more than headlines.
Musings over — time to cook. It’s the school holidays and it’s an opportunity to get into the kitchen and cook up some easy ideas. Baking is a great genre in which to begin teaching kids some cooking basics. Yes, it’s a treat, but there are opportunities to teach maths via measuring, chemistry through melting and dissolving, creative art with decorating and responsibility — always a good one — by cleaning up the mess when you’ve finished!
Quality home-made muesli bars usually contain less sugar than the bought ones, come unwrapped, saving the planet from the ever-growing mountain of food packaging waste, and cost half as much to make per 100 grams. And we all may avoid having to pay yet another tax, if the Chinese whispers from Wellington prove to be correct.