Teenagers encouraged to increase meat consumption

The importance of teenagers eating a balanced diet and the provenance of their food were two key themes teachers took away at a conference co-organised by Hybu Cig Cymru Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and Meat and Education.

A low intake of vitamins and minerals such as iron and selenium, particularly in girls, was highlighted as a challenge. Other issues included obesity, something that should be conquered by adding balance and variety to a diet rather than eating less.

These obstacles can be tackled by making the most of the new GCSE in Food and Nutrition, launched this year by the Welsh Joint Education Committee.

Teachers can play a role in ensuring teenagers receive the correct information about a balanced diet, said Elwen Roberts, HCCs consumer executive.

The new GCSE in Food and Nutrition, which replaced some of the old qualifications, is a positive step as its a holistic approach to the issue. HCC, along with Meat and Education, has developed a range of learning resources to help teachers to deliver nutritional education in the new GCSE and across the curriculum. They explain how meat can be an important source of iron, zinc and many vitamins, as part of a balanced diet.

Brecon butcher Steve Morgan was also at the conference, providing a demonstration on how to prepare economical cuts of meat into the classroom, alongside HCCs head of operation Prys Morgan giving a presentation on food provenance.

Traceability is another key element that students learn about in the new Food and Nutrition GCSE, said Morgan. And it is also more and more important to consumers. Schemes such as PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), of which Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef are a part, give confidence to consumers about the origin and quality of their food.

I was delighted to see so many teachers from all over Wales at the conference, he added. HCC will continue to work hand-in-hand with the education sector to reinforce positive messages about the important role that red meat can play within a balanced diet.

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