Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush

It’s Jamie’s Food Revolution Day and we got to connect with the healthy eating ambassador about his passion project, tips on feeding a picky eater and how to indulge healthfully this long weekend!

What are your personal measures of success in terms of Jamie’s Food Revolution and raising awareness around nutrition and global food challenges?

I can’t say that I set myself targets. The Food Revolution is an ongoing campaign, which I’ll probably be doing until I drop, but what I do want to see is a real shift in the way governments and businesses approach child health and food education. We’re already seeing big changes — Mexico’s soda tax and the recent announcement in the UK of a sugary drinks tax are hugely positive steps forward. They’re symbolic of governments finally saying, enough is enough — no longer are we allowing businesses to compromise the health of our kids.

Where do you hope world food education will be in the next 5 years?

I’d like to think that more and more countries will have more robust strategies on food education and child health. My own government is bringing out their Childhood Obesity Strategy in the summer, which I’m awaiting in anticipation, and I have great hopes for your Prime Minister — I think Mr. Trudeau is the man to make lasting, positive change in the way Canadian kids access, consume and understand food. I’d be thrilled to see countries like Australia, Germany, China, Brazil and the USA taking more of a lead too.

How have you made changes to your own diet since becoming more health conscious?

A few years ago, I started giving vegetables a lot more of a central focus on my plate. I’ll now have about three or four meat-free days a week. Veggie-based meals can be incredibly vibrant, exciting and delicious — not only are they healthier, they’re often cheaper too.

What does a healthy family meal look like at your home?

It could be anything from a fish pie to a veggie stir-fry, but it’s always fresh and cooked from scratch, and often with a lot of veggies, whole grains and fish.

Do you have any tips on cooking for kids who are picky eaters?

It’s really important to get the kids involved in cooking and prepping meals. If they have ownership over what they’re eating, then they’re much more likely to try it. Get them touching, smelling and tasting different, fresh ingredients, too. If you can, take a trip to a local market and show them that food can be exciting, varied and fun. Even if they don’t like the taste of something the first time, that’s okay — don’t make an issue out of it, and try again next time.

What’s the best way to wean off of processed food? 

I often think that we’ve become too used to over-boiled veggies, badly dressed salads or out-of-season fruit that of course taste disgusting. By celebrating fresh food when it’s in season, making salads exciting or cooking and dressing vegetables in the right way, actually it’s easy to see that fresh food is far tastier than any of the processed rubbish you can get.

Canadians are celebrating Victoria Day this weekend — which means BBQ foods and drinks on the patio. What’s your advice on how to enjoy summer indulgences, while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

If it’s a one-off celebration, you deserve to let your hair down a bit. The occasional indulgence is absolutely fine, as long as it doesn’t form part of your everyday diet. If you’re going to have a big blow-out one day, just make sure you balance it out with lighter, healthier meals in the days that follow.

What’s the best way to remedy a day of overindulging?

Stay hydrated with plenty of water. Eat light.

Get Jamie Oliver’s Healthy Meal Plan for Food Revolution Day and watch him on Sugar Rush on Friday May 20th at 8pm ET and Saturday, May 21st at 9pm ET.

This interview was edited and condensed.