Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are harmful to our health and have been proven to increase our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. And yet they make up almost 60% of the UK diet today.

Shop bought biscuits, cakes, burgers, pizzas, pies, breakfast cereals, ice-cream, cereal bars, flavoured yoghurts, even some breads – the list goes on and on of items that often fall under the UPFs umbrella. Unsurprisingly then, when feeding our children at home, it’s almost impossible not to have at least some UPFs in their diet. UPFs are made to taste really good, to be addictive even, so naturally children want to eat them – the manufacturers aren’t stupid.

Cooking with ingredients you’ll have at home

Here at the Farm Kitchen, we work very hard to make sure as much of what we serve is cooked from scratch, using ingredients you would find in your own kitchen cupboards. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the packet of your favourite biscuits? How many of the ingredients sound like they belong in a science lab? This is what makes it a UPF and what makes so many of our dishes different. We’ve included the recipe for our shortbread biscuits on our website because we make them fresh, using ingredients you will have at home. There’s no science experiment here.

In fact, we make all our own hot puddings – cakes and crumbles – or simply serve a delicious piece of fresh fruit which is as natural as it gets. We also cook our own sauces and avoid as many processed foods as we can.

Buying freshly made, local produce

When it comes to our suppliers, we are stringent about who we use and the quality of the food they produce. We are committed to using local businesses that also prepare everything from scratch – our bakery bakes fresh bread for us every day, so there are no preservatives there. Similarly, our butcher is local and our meat is the best quality – we do not buy big brand name processed burgers or sausages which would be considered UPFs.

And then there are all the fruit and vegetables that we include in our recipes, which are as far removed from UPFs as you can get. What’s more, we buy as many as we can from local farmers, so they’re as fresh as possible and more nutritious as a result.

We know it’s not easy for anyone to completely avoid UPFs, but one thing we, as a company,  can do is make sure that as many of our dishes as possible are cooked from scratch and packed full of goodness, giving our children the healthy meal they need to grow, develop and learn.

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