From left, William Brown, Alfie Reid, Stewart Moore, Ulster Rugby Academy, Charlotte Brown and Harriot Reid.
Recognising a gulf between the need for fruit and vegetables to be a key part of any diet and consumer behaviour, Ulster Farmers’ Union has joined forces with Veg Power and the Food Foundation to convince parents and children that eating more healthily is not only good, but also a tasty decision.
“Good food choices are not boring,” said David Brown, deputy president of UFU. “We need to get across the message that when it comes to fruit and vegetables different approaches to preparation and cooking can turn these into popular choices with children and indeed adults.”
Government advice is that people should eat at least five and ideally seven portions of fruit or vegetables a day. However, 80% of adults and more than 95% of children are not achieving that target.
“Children have a tendency to turn their noses up at vegetables, often without even trying what’s on offer,” said Brown. “That is often down to how they are cooked and presented. We know if we can get that right views soon change. We can banish the word boring for ‘WOW’. It’s about stressing that both vegetables and fruit can be tasty as well as good for you.”
A Healthy Horticulture exhibition at Balmoral included food demonstrations, seed planting for children, goody bags and a schools’ trail; linked to a video produced to encourage kids of the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.
“The aim is a campaign that is fun and engaging,” he said. “It will inspire children – and hopefully their parents as well – to enjoy the huge range of tastes, textures and colours that a world of fruit and vegetables has to offer. The diet change we want to encourage will be a lifelong boost for children’s health as they grow into adults.”