School meals help fussy eaters try new foods

Parents struggling with fussy eaters may have found an unlikely ally in school food – a recent survey revealed four out of five youngsters eating school meals have tried food in the school canteen that they would never try at home.

Parents struggling with fussy eaters may have found an unlikely ally in school food – a recent survey revealed four out of five youngsters eating school meals have tried food in the school canteen that they would never try at home.
In a poll of 1,000 parents for the School Food Trust, more than 80% said their offspring had experimented with new foods at school and half said they’d been asked to make dishes at home that their childrten had eaten at school.
The survey found carrots, sweet corn and peas are the most popular vegetables for children – but aubergine, chickpeas and spinach are among the least favourite.
Rob Rees, chairman of the School Food Trust, said: ”Every parent knows it’s a nightmare watching their child push food around the plate.  School meals can be a great way to help parents encourage their children to try new foods and to increase the variety of foods in their diet.
”I think we all remember wanting to eat like our friends at school – it has a huge influence on what children are prepared to try, so school meals are a good option for fussy eaters.
”What’s more, we are starting to see a shift in children’s habits since the introduction of new standards for school food.  Our research in primary schools has shown that children eating school meals do have healthier options on their plates than they did five years ago.”
Lunches served in all maintained schools in England must now meet specific standards, so the average meal provides the right mix of energy and nutrients.
Research has shown packed lunches generally contain fewer healthy items than school lunches.  Children eating packed lunches can take in higher levels of fat, sugar and salt than pupils eating school meals.





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