For Masterchef contestant and mother of three – (as well as foster mum to 32 children) Jules Allen despairs about what parents feed their children saying just the thought of it makes her sad.
Processed junk. Food in packets. Pre-prepared sugary meals that leave a child feeling, as Jules Allen says, unloved.
The 40-year-old from NSW says she wants to see more families use food to connect rather than take the easy way out through processed meals and junk food.
Far from condemning busy parents Jules says she understands (and with 32 foster kids over 12 years its hard to compare schedules without feeling a little bit outdone) but that families need to realise with a little more effort they all can benefit.
Jules Allen was on Masterchef in 2013. Image supplied.
The award-winning youth advocate and inspirational speaker has used her time in the spotlight as a contestant on Masterchef to promote causes that she feels passionate about – food, family and helping others.
“I find it so heartbreaking that people have forgotten that food is the fundamental thing that keeps us connected in a household.”
Jules Allen appeared on Australian Story and talked about the difficulties adjusting to life after Masterchef. Post continues after video.
Allen, who appeared on Masterchef in 2013 doesn’t understand how as a society we’ve lost that focus.
“As a parent we nurture them through those first few years with breastfeeding and organic pureed foods and then suddenly they get to a certain point and we are throwing packets of chips and lollies at them.”
She says that in busy families she finds it really sad that sharing and preparing meals is the first thing that people shelve.
“When you make a kid lunch the first thing it says when someone opens that lunch box is that someone loves me. When you put treats in - not packets - but things you put effort into it says to a child someone cares."
Australian children get around 50 per cent of their total energy intake from processed foods a study last year found with three in five parents saying their children prefer snack foods to ‘real or ‘whole foods’.
Jules groans in dismay at the children who open up their lunch box to a packet of burger rings and a juice.
“I find it sad.”
Put a little more effort in" she begs mothers. Image supplied.
Jules Allen says that parents who don’t find the time to cook for their kids are setting up a dangerous way of thinking.
“What message are you giving them? This is how much time I have got for you. I’ll throw a packet in your lunch box. What does that say?”