Getting children to eat enough fruit and veg is something many parents worry about. Thankfully, my girls are good at eating fruit and veg. It seems that I’m not alone in this given that 93% of 1 -3 years olds eating the right amount of fruit and veg each day, according to figures from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey. However only 10% of 11-18 year olds manage to do the same, and with boys being better at doing so than girls, I know that healthy eating is something that I will need to continue to actively encourage as my girls get older.
While Jessica and Sophie are good at eating fruit and veg, they do tend to eat a fairly limited selection and so I was looking forward to getting some ideas about how to encourage them to eat a wider range at the #InnocentFiveaDay Fruit and Veg Fest at Innocent Fruit Towers, which I was invited to attend last week.
The event itself was very much about making fruit and veg fun for kids, with various activities arranged to help them explore different types and have a play. There were five activities to complete (with a sticker chart to fill in as we worked our way around the activities).
We started at the coconut shy. The girls didn’t quite grasp the concept of throwing the balls at the coconuts to knock them off, preferring to go for the easier option of pushing them off. Sophie seemed to think that the mini footballs were a much better target and kept trying to replace the coconuts on the stands with these.
Next up, was printing with various different types of vegetables – potato, corn, broccoli and carrots. The girls got very messy with this activity. I was quite glad I had packed a couple of coverall bibs in the changing bag!
Bounce says… a variation on Simon says, took place in front of a giant wooden banana, which was great fun for sitting on and sliding along. The girls enjoyed being runner beans (running on the spot), blowing raspberries and rolling on the floor pretending to be peas.
Making funny faces with pieces of raw fruit and veg was the girls’ favourite activity and one that we have repeated at home since as a wonderful way of encouraging the girls to eat more veg. Whilst Jessica loved creating faces on the plate, she spent most of the time on this activity happily sampling the raw veg on offer!
We finished off by making our own smoothie – mixing kiwi, melon, pineapple and banana together. Whilst Jessica was quite happy to choose the fruit and help make the smoothie, she didn’t want to drink any of it afterwards. Sophie quite happily drank her sister’s share instead though!
The girls both got to try out the new range of fruit and veg smoothies that Innocent have recently brought out. Jessica enjoyed them just as much as Sophie, which surprised me as she will usually only drink water or milk, whereas Sophie is more adventurous when it comes to new flavours drinks-wise. It was the first time I’ve ever known Jessica to drink a smoothie so that’s certainly a good recommendation for the new range!
The new fruit and veg smoothies come in two different flavours: pineapple, apple and carrots and strawberries, apples and beetroot. Each smoothie is made of 100% crushed fruit and veg and contains one portion of your children’s five a day as well as providing a useful source of vitamin C which helps with iron absorption. The small cartons are perfect for lunchboxes and available from all good supermarkets.
While smoothies are a great way of increasing fruit and veg consumption, they can only contribute a maximum of two portions of the five-a-day required (with fruit juices only providing one portion). It is important to also include fresh fruit and veg in a healthy diet and Innocent have shared a range of tips for helping to do so:
- Aiming to eat a rainbow of fruit and veg each day in order to eat a wide variety and get plenty of different vitamins.
- Snacking on raw vegetables, such as carrot or celery sticks and keeping a fruit bowl within easy reach for snacks.
- Adding fruit or veg into meals where possible – fresh or dried fruit on top of porridge or cereal; salad in sandwiches; grated carrot or courgette added to mashed potato or bolognaise sauce; adding vegetables to soups, stews and sauces; extra fruit and veg toppings for pizza.
- Swapping meat-based burgers for vegetable or bean burgers.
- Making fruit and veg fun at mealtimes – creating funny faces with raw veg or counting segments, berries or pips.
- Being inventive with fruit – making fruit kebabs with different coloured chopped fruit or making healthy mini ice-lollies with frozen fruit.
- Getting the children involved in choosing, preparing and cooking – letting them pick a new fruit or vegetable when shopping, going fruit picking or growing your own.
- Having meals together as a family and enjoying eating fruit and veg together.
- If on a budget, it is worth bearing in mind that in season fruit and veg is often cheaper and frozen veg is just as healthy.
As well as some samples to take home, we were also given a copy of the Innocent recipe book which contains lots of ideas of ways to add fruit and veg to your children’s diets. I particularly like the sound of the chocolate and beetroot brownies!
With the new school year starting, Innocent Drinks are offering one of my readers the chance to win Innocent smoothies for your child’s class, delivered directly to the classroom. If you would like the chance to win, you can enter via the Rafflecopter below. Entries are open to UK readers and the competition closes at midnight on 14th September. Good luck!
We were invited to attend the #InnocentFiveaDay fruit and veg fest event and gifted a goody bag. All opinions are my own.