Getting your 5 a day

This time of year is great for exploring what fruit and vegetables are around, either produced locally or rife in supermarkets. The upcoming summer holidays will see many families out picking their own fruits and veggies in the local fields or at home in the back garden!

The NHS are keen for us all to get at least five pieces of fruit and veg in everyday, there are adverts on TV about it all the time! Unfortunately it’s not always as easy as it seems to get children (or adults!) to eat the recommended five portions, as some are picky about them or just won’t touch them full stop!

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Studies have shown that the earlier youngsters are introduced to a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, the more likely they are to welcome these foods into their diets. Including play food in imaginative play could be the key to exposing children to fruit and veg as early as possible. It introduces children to the colour and shape of fruit and vegetables, perhaps before their palate is quite ready for the taste! Play food has always been around, and it something that has improved in quality over the years and is now a lot more realistic!

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We have a range of hands-on role play resources, known as New Sprouts®. It was specially designed for little hands and is perfect for children as young as 2. The New Sprouts® range features a lot of play food, and loads of great ideas for role playing with fruit and vegetables. The Deluxe Market Set includes a bushel of fruit and veggies that might be found on a local market stall, and the Fresh Picked Fruit & Veggie Tote includes a huge amount of fruit and veg in a canvas bag that looks just like it been picked!

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Older children can start preparing their fruit and vegetables with the Pretend & Play® Sliceable Fruits & Veggies that even come with a chopping board and play knife.

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The LiveWell section of the NHS website has some great tips about including fruit and vegetables into your weekly meals and snacks. One of my favourite ideas on the site was to allow your children to pick one fruit or vegetable during the weekly shop and let them see the process from shop to table! Supervise them while they prepare it, cook it and serve it! Squirt luckily doesn’t need much encouraging when it comes to fruit and veggies, but this is certainly something I will be doing with her!

Variety is the key! My +1’s mum is from Jamaica so I’m often introduced to fruit and vegetables I have never even heard of before. Most of them, I must say are absolutely delicious.

Until next time…

Laura