Vegetable consumption in under 5s
The announcement comes on the back of shocking findings from a YouGov survey*, commissioned by Organix which has found that:
- 55% of children under 5 years have two or less portions of vegetable a day - this equates to 2 million children
- A third of UK children age 4 and under eat only two portions a day
- Just under 116,000 are eating no vegetables at all
- There is a lack of variety in the vegetables chosen.
Of the parents and carers:
- 24% felt guilty about their child’s daily diet
- Lockdowns have led to an increase in process foods being consumed
- 25% said they would like to increase the variety of foods in their child’s diet
- Just under 50% admit to giving up on getting their child to try new foods after 6 attempts, despite it taking on average between 11-15 times to get a child to try a new food
- Parents try different techniques worry about the lack of variety and amount given
- More than 53% resort to hiding vegetables in their children's meals - which can have a negative effect on children recognising or accepting the vegetable when they see it in its whole ‘unhidden' form.
- One third of parents said they found mealtimes ended up in battles and so didn’t persevere with encouraging their children to eat vegetables to avoid upsets and stress.
B Gill added: “As a parent, I know how tough it can be to get your children eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. That’s why I’m so excited to be involved in this campaign because I know how important it is and if there’s an easier way to support parents and caregivers to do this, fantastic.
“As a father and a farmer, I also know how when you show kids and help them understand where food comes from, you’ll have much greater success in getting them to rethink their relationship with it. To that effect, we’ve created a wealth of amazing content to inspire parents, family members and nurseries. I can’t wait to share it with my two and help them become rainbow explorers too.”
Good for Planet. Good for Me
Organix has launched the campaign working with University of Reading’s visual technique books, called ‘See Eat’ which were devloped by a research team that found that children who became familiar with different veggies through photos in books, over 2 weeks were three times more likely to try them. They are also working with their Fussy Eating Expert, Lucy Thomas and have created over 90 activities including themed songs, healthy recipes and outdoor nature focussed activities to plant vegetables. Organix focus is on getting children to eat at least one more piece of fruit and veg per day, so that children can enjoy a broad palate of healthy nutritious food.
Organix has identified three key takeaways to inspiring and creating a healthy mindset in little ones for later in life include the following:
- Take exploring new fruit and vegetables away from the dinner table and bring them into play
- Visualisation is so important and by using books like See & Eat, you can get your kids more comfortable with foods, without it ending up in the bin
- Exploring foods is about more than just taste! It’s multi-sensory and allowing them to discover through texture, sight and fun will give you far more successful results
The ‘Good for planet. Good for me.’ campaign is available to support parents through the Organix website and via a partnership with NDNA on their website, to over 300,000 nursery school children across the UK throughout May. The initiative will also be evaluated for impact on eating habits.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, CEO of NDNA added: “Nurseries play a vital role in a child's formative years and this last year has had a big impact on children's health, wellbeing and development. We all know something remarkable happens when children are with other children in a nursery, like being more likely to try new foods if it’s part of a fun activity or when they see their friends eating it. So these resources will be a great support, helping children to explore a range of fruit and vegetables together and giving them healthy habits for life.”
To find out more about the campaign go to Organix and www.ndna.org.uk.
*The survey was undertaken with 2,000 respondents and is representative of the UK population.
** The See Eat book initiative involves children reading books with pictures of vegetables, in the intervention, children who read the books daily over two weeks were three times more likely to try new vegetables if they become familiar with them from pictures in the books.
Images credited to Organix.