Your Healthy Kitchen targets south Asian families to help prevent diabetes

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Your healthy kitchenSouth Asian families, living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can now learn how to cook traditional south Asian meals with a healthy twist, without compromising on taste, helped by a new health campaign - Your Healthy Kitchen - that launched on Monday 4 November 2019.

The clinical commissioning groups representing patients in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust have developed a brand new series of short videos, and a recipe booklet which demonstrate how to cook traditional foods in a healthier way, so people can keep themselves and their family healthy for life and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

The videos, which are available online from today, are essentially ‘Saturday Kitchen’ style cooking shows, taking every day homemade south Asian meals and making simple changes, such as healthier oil instead of butter or ghee, lemon instead of salt, wholemeal flour instead of white flour. People can still eat their staple foods and the dishes they enjoy, just in a much healthier way. The shows are presented by a fully qualified NHS local dietician, set in a homely, modern kitchen.

People from south Asian backgrounds are six times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than the population in general, sometimes due to genetic differences in how their bodies respond to some foods, as well as cultural eating habits. Unhealthy ingredients such as ghee (high fat butter), sugar and salt are used in most traditional south Asian recipes. This means families have a very high risk of developing diabetes.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, Clinical Director, East Midlands and Diabetes and Vascular Network, GP and Chair of Leicester City CCG tells us more in his video, developed to tell people why looking after their health and taking steps to prevent diabetes is so important. 

The recipe booklet and an information leaflet will be available in GP practices, customer services offices, pharmacies, libraries and community centres across Leicester city, from this week. If local people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland would like to receive copies for their community group they can contact Leicester City CCG on 0116 295 0750 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The campaign is informed by research that Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissioned in 2013 among certain black minority and ethnic groups to find out what would help them to eat more healthily to reduce their risk of developing diabetes.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, Chair of Leicester City CCG and lead on Diabetes, said: “It is very easy to make what we eat, healthier and this doesn’t mean missing out on eating your favourite foods and compromising on flavour. Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues in the country at the moment, the rates of diabetes are going up in all communities and that includes the south Asian community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, which is particularly at risk.

“However, all communities can improve their diet. That includes white communities, south Asian communities or African Caribbean communities – everyone can take small steps to eat a little healthier and move a little more to look after themselves better. Currently we are focussing on south Asian foods but we hope to expand this to other cuisines in the future.”

Jessica Mhesuria, Leicestershire NHS dietitian from the Leicestershire Nutrition and Dietetics Service (LNDS) and the star of the show, said: “Change doesn’t have to mean not eating the things you enjoy, just make them a little healthier with our simple recipe tips. There are many festivals, family and community gatherings in the south Asian community and people like to show they care by cooking for each other. Why not show people how much you care by making slight changes to the food you make – you are in fact being kinder. By cooking food in a healthier way you are helping them to live a healthier and longer life.”

Learn how you can reduce you and your family’s risk of developing diabetes, and watch the videos, by visiting

You can follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter or follow #yourhealthykitchen on social media.
If you need any help with translation to understand the document produced please call the Ujala Translation phone line on 0116 295 4743.