Eat up your veggies: free webinar and new early years resources
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
The British Nutrition Foundation is hosting a free webinar for early years practitioners and parents, which looks at practical ways to encourage young children to eat more vegetables.
Learning to love veg: practical ways to help preschoolers eat more vegetables, will take place on 5 November from 1-2pm
Early years expert nutritionist, Charlotte Stirling-Reed will look at practical ways that parents and carers can get their children to eat a range of vegetables. And there will be two case studies from George Perkins Day Nursery and Tender Years Day Nursery on the strategies they have used to get children to eat more vegetables.
The webinar also explores how seeing images of vegetables, as well as just having them on their plate, can help children to become familiar with, enjoy and eat a variety of vegetables.
The BNF has also supported the launch of a new website, called See & Eat, developed by the University of Reading, which is based on research showing that visual familiarity in the form of picture books is an effective way to increase a child’s willingness to try and liking of vegetables.
It includes a series of ebooks, which each show a different vegetable’s journey from 'farm-to-fork', and are available to read on a tablet or smartphone.
The 24 interactive eBooks which each profile a different vegetable and are available in English, Italian, Finnish, Polish, Dutch and French.
Examples of new free activities on the website, which are suitable for nursery settings, include: a flash card game where children are asked to match pictures to the names of vegetables; VeggieSense, a guess-the-vegetable activity where adults encourage children to explore vegetables through their sense of sight, touch and smell, and instructions on how to grow your own cress.
Research suggests that eating patterns and preferences for healthy foods like vegetables are established in early childhood, so it’s crucial that young children learn to eat well from the outset.
Research shows that visual familiarity in the form of picture books is an effective way to increase a child’s willingness to try vegetables new to them, and develop a liking for vegetables.
Dr Natalie Masento, a collaborator on the project at the University of Reading, said, ‘Vegetables can be particularly difficult to introduce into young children’s diets as they’re less sweet than fruit and can often be rejected when they’re first offered.
'It has been shown, however, that children’s acceptance of vegetables can be boosted purely through increasing visual familiarity, and therefore our project’s aim is to build on this research, while developing a series of accessible resources to help parents introduce more vegetables to their children. With the launch of the new website, we hope more parents from across Europe will find the eBooks easier to access and will enjoy the new evidence-based activities we have developed.’
Alongside the launch of the new website, the See & Eat project team is currently carrying out a study to understand whether extra interactivity and personalisation through eBooks, such as adding photos or videos of shopping for, or preparing or eating vegetables, can support children to become even more receptive to new vegetables. The study covers a range of nationalities and languages, with results due to be launched in 2021.
To book a place on the free webinar, click here
Information on the See & Eat project, funded by European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food, can be found on the new website.