Combating child obesity through veg boxes

Southdown Nursery enjoy touching and tasting various fruit and veg
Southdown Nursery enjoy touching and tasting various fruit and veg

Obesity among children is an ongoing issue and we must promote the importance of healthy eating.

That’s the message of Riverford Organic Farmers who have been working with Southdown Nursery in Steyning.

The scheme, aimed at local children, will tackle the lack of fruit some youngsters eat.

Lucy Smith, head at Southdown, says a healthy eating week worked well with the toddlers.

She said: “Here at Southdown Nursery we decided to hold a healthy eating week, following our recent outstanding Ofsted report’s recommendation to support and encourage families about healthy packed lunches.

“We invited parents to come and participate in the activities during this special week too.

“To round it off with Riverford’s veg lesson was spot on for getting the children, and their families, to get totally immersed in fruit and vegetables.

“They all had a lot of fun smelling, tasting, preparing and eating the vegetables.”

Nurseries, pre-schools and schools can register their interest to get involved with the scheme.

They will then receive a veg box and a pack to lead a healthy eating session. The farmers are also on hand to support with a launch event.

Liz Sowden, Riverford Horsham’s veg lady, believes including youngsters with preparing healthy meals is important.

She said: “One of the best things you can do for your children is involve them in preparing family meals.

“This needs a little time and may be a bit messier than your usual cooking, but it’s important as what you teach them now will build firm foundations for their future attitudes towards healthy eating.

“Let them wash, chop, grate and touch fruit and vegetables, and talk about where they come from.

“A veg box is an ideal way to do this, and we also have loads of hints and tips to help parents encourage children to eat well and get them involved in the kitchen in fun and safe ways.”

The government say nearly a third of children aged two to 15 are overweight or obese.

Younger generations who are obese at an earlier age are staying this way for longer.

The national drive to reduce obesity will save lives as being overweight can raise a risk of dying prematurely.

Information on the Riverford Veg for Schools scheme can be found at www.riverford.co.uk/veg-for-schools