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Research published by the School Food Trust has confirmed that children who eat school lunches are more willing to try new foods that they would not normally try at home. Over 1,000 parents were surveyed and an amazing 80% said their children had tried new things at school and some 50% said they were asked to cook new things at home, that the children had eaten at school!
School dinners therefore were a great way to encourage a varied and wide ranging menu for children. Seeing friends eating and tucking in to un familiar dishes is a good way to tempt little ones. Even children who were labelled as "fussy" by their parents found that their children ate well.
Tips for getting children to eat:
- Get them involved: grow some vegetables, get them to pick them from the supermarket shelf
- Take a step back: go to visit a pick your own farm or a farm where crops are grown.
- Be creative: make the food look nice! Use different coloured vegetables and make the meal attractive
- Think outside the box: name things in a more attractive way. Try offering Squiggly sausages, monster mash and squeaky peas rather than sausage, peas and potatoes.
- Get the children helping: they can chop easy things, help lay the table, choose a plate etc.
- Keep portions reasonable: don't overload the plate it can be very off-putting.
- Find out their favourites and use them if you can: if carrots and peas are top vegetables, then use them along with others and introduce new ones gradually!