Who would have thought that Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool captain, happily toils away in the kitchen cooking up a sumptuous dish of aromatic sea bream? Or that Scotland's Barry Ferguson plumps for fruit salad?

Those are just two recipes recommended by leading footballers in a new cookery book dreamed up by bureaucrats in Brussels hoping to turn children away from fast food.

Concerned by the growing obesity epidemic among children, the European Commission and Uefa commissioned the book to encourage obese youngsters to shed pounds.

In a bid to win over their young fans' stomachs, the Eat for Goals! picturebook features recipes and cheerful quotes from 13 of Europe's top footballers.

A spokesperson for the book said the footballers had been asked to come up with their own healthy suggestions.

Recipes include salmon grilled with cloves and served with vegetables by Real Madrid's Ruud van Nistelrooy, and pasta à la siciliana by Fabio Cannavaro. Thierry Henry recommends rice cubana and Miroslav Klose opts for a "power omelette".

Gerrard said the recipes would help children learn "how to cook and eat like champions". Androulla Vassiliou, the European Health Commissioner, was more blunt. "We don't want you to be fat when you grow up," she told children at the book's launch in Brussels.

At least 22 million children in Europe are thought to be overweight.


*Aromatic Sea Bream by Steven Gerrard

Cooking time: 20 mins

Preparation time: 12 mins

2 white sea bream fillets

3tbsp olive oil

1 juiced lemon

40g breadcrumbs

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

1 sprig chopped flat leaf parsley

1 sprig chopped thyme

*Heat oven to 180C. Chop 1 garlic clove and mix with rosemary, parsley and thyme. Place herbs between fillets. Place fish in ovenproof dish. Season and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of water and 1 garlic clove. Pour over fish and bake for 20mins.

*Rice Cubana by Thierry Henry

Cooking time: 8 mins

Preparation time: 10 mins

4 eggs

160g white rice

2 large sliced bananas

400g tinned tomato sauce

*Measure twice as much water as rice into a pan, bring to boil and simmer slowly with lid on until water is absorbed and rice is cooked but not soggy.

Heat tomato sauce.

Grill bananas for a few minutes on each side. Break the eggs and tip gently into hot oil in frying pan. Flip the eggs over to fry a little on the other side. Arrange portions with eggs.