Food fatigue has well and truly set in for 18.6 million* people as our early enthusiasm for lockdown home cooking goes off the boil.

According to research by Royal Voluntary Service and People’s Postcode Lottery, at least one in three Britons tucked enthusiastically into cooking (36%) and baking (33%) at the start of the pandemic but a year on, have lost their appetite for it. Quick fixes have become the answer for many with more than four in ten surveyed eating more takeaways (47%) and ready meals (43%) as the pandemic has gone on. Only three in ten (30%) say they have cooked healthy meals during the pandemic.

One in ten (10%) of those surveyed by the charity say they just don't have the energy to think of new meal ideas and one in eight (12%) haven't felt motivated to cook at any point. More than a quarter (26%) tend to cook the same dishes and one in seven (14%) are fed up with the same meals.

On a mission to make us hungry for healthy home cooking is TV chef Phil Vickery who launches Eat Well Week at the Royal Voluntary Service Virtual Village Hall on Monday 19 April, with a live, free cookalong from his home kitchen. Eat Well Week at the Virtual Village Hall is designed to make us fall back in love with our kitchens and features a packed programme** of live, free daily cookalongs by top culinary experts including MasterChef winner Irini Tzortzoglou, TV chefs Ching-He Huang MBE and Kwoklyn Wan, food writers and chefs, Jack Burke and Michelle Wilding, and award-winning Caribbean chef, Mike Springer.

"Throughout the pandemic and particularly during the lockdowns, food has been an important focus for our day. Having more time on our hands has been a great motivation for many people to cook or bake, some for the first time. However, after a year of planning every meal, the joy of cooking has waned for many which means we’re reaching for less-than-healthy alternatives, and no doubt feeling the effects.

"I’ll be shaking things up for Eat Well Week at the Virtual Village Hall to get people feeling positive about healthy home cooking again. Our talented panel of top chefs will be sharing some simple, healthy and delicious recipes to make at home that will be packed full of flavour but with a fraction of the calories of ready meals and takeaways."

Phil Vickery

Eat Well Week takes place at the Virtual Village Hall Facebook page from 19-23 April. It is free to join, open to everyone and a Facebook account is not required to take part.

When people do get stuck into their cooking, it has a positive effect on their mental health. More than one in five surveyed said they felt healthier (21%), happier (23%) and more positive (27%) as a result of their efforts, and more than one in three felt a sense of achievement (34%) and satisfaction (38%).

"As these challenging times continue, dialing up more takeaways or reaching for ready meals can be incredibly tempting, but good nutrition and a balanced diet are vital to our physical health and wellbeing, particularly for those with underlying health conditions. We know from our research that home cooking and baking have had mental health benefits during the pandemic too.

"Whether you live alone or are cooking for a large family, we hope you’ll join Phil and our Virtual Village Hall chefs for one of our live Eat Well Week cookalongs. You never know, you might even be inspired to ditch that takeaway menu altogether!"

Sam Ward, Director of Services and Deputy Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service

"Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Royal Voluntary Service Virtual Village Hall is constantly finding new ways to support people’s health and wellbeing, from healthy eating cookalongs and exercise and dance classes to mindful craft and meditation sessions."

Laura Chow, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery

The Virtual Village Hall is a popular online community hub, designed by Royal Voluntary Service and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery to connect people and help them stay active during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. With tens of thousands of followers, it offers over 300 themed sessions, with activities available seven days a week. The Virtual Village Hall can be found on Facebook, on the Royal Voluntary Service website and on YouTube, with sessions updated regularly.

In a recent survey***, 81% of Virtual Village Hall followers said it has boosted their wellbeing. 73% said it has helped them stay physically active at home and 53% said it has helped them feel connected to others.

Vist the Virtual Village Hall

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