At Sanitarium Health Food Company, we’re a passionate group of people who believe in the potential of every Australian to live well. The potential to be healthy – physically and mentally – and the potential to be happy. And we believe this begins with a good start to life.
We created 12 before 12 because healthy food habits established in childhood largely determine our health over a lifetime. Yet here in Australia, where so many of us know what we should eat, the biggest barrier to achieving a healthier diet appears to be the how.
The evidence base behind this education initiative comes from a University of Notre Dame Sydney report called Little People Big Lives. Through extensive analysis of the 21st century threats to children’s health, the report outlines a number of practical recommendations covering healthy eating, active play, sleep, screen time and emotional connection. Among the many findings, the research highlights that the relatively simple acts of involving children in planning meals, preparing food and eating together as a family, are among the most powerful things a parent can do to set their child up for a longer, healthier and happier life.
Our hope for 12 before 12 is that it brings families together to learn 12 practical skills that help make healthier eating easy and enjoyable.
We also hope it inspires a new conversation about dietary advice – one that recognises the barriers to why 95% of children (and 93% of adults!) still don’t eat enough vegetables, and acknowledges the infinite value of mealtimes in fostering social connection and providing children with a much-needed sense of belonging.
We want to acknowledge the incredible support of Sprout Cooking School in helping create the 12 before 12 cookbook. The Sprout team led by dietitian Themis Chryssidis and chef Callum Hann (who you might recognise from the popular TV show Masterchef™) has shared our vision and enthusiasm for this initiative and we could not have done it without their expertise and passion for nutrition education and teaching kids to cook.