Eat with your kids to boost their fruit and veg intake

Eating with kids

Parents, here is how to get your kids to eat the greens!

Eating meals together as a family, even once or twice a week, increases children's daily fruit and vegetable intake, according to researchers at the University of Leeds.

The study of primary school-aged children also suggested parental consumption of fruit and vegetables and cutting up portions of these foods boosted children's intake.

Overall, researchers found that 63 per cent of children did not consume the World Health Organisation recommended amount of five portions (400g) a day.

Children who always ate a family meal together at a table consumed 125g (1.5 portions) more fruit and vegetables on average than children who never ate with their families.

Even those who reported eating together only once or twice a week consumed 95g (1.2 portions) more than those who never ate together.

"Even if it's just one family meal a week, when children eat together with parents or older siblings they learn about eating. Watching the way their parents or siblings eat and the different types of food they eat is pivotal in creating their own food habits and preferences," Professor Janet Cade, who supervised the study, said in a statement.

In families where parents reported eating fruit and vegetables every day, children had on average one portion (80g) more than children whose parents never or rarely ate

fruit and vegetables.

"Modern life often prevents the whole family from sitting round the dinner table, but this research shows that even just Sunday lunch round the table can help improve the diets of our families," said researcher Meaghan Christian.

Children whose parents always or sometimes cut up fruit and vegetables for them consumed, on average, half a portion (40g) and quarter of a portion more, respectively, than children of parents who never cut up their fruit and vegetables.

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