Sprinkle CARROTS on your children’s Kellogg’s for breakfast: the latest advice from health experts who warn British children aren’t eating enough vegetables – which they say reduces the risk of heart disease ‘adulthood
- It could help parents add veggies to their kids’ breakfast, researchers say
- They added there was ‘no reason’ to exclude foods like cucumbers from breakfast
- The team, from Loughborough United, said it would reduce the risk of illnesses in adulthood
Grate carrots into porridge or add spinach to a morning smoothie might sound a little unappetizing.
But ideas like this could help parents incorporate vegetables into their children’s breakfasts, researchers say.
They say most children don’t eat enough vegetables and there’s “no reason” to exclude foods such as peppers or cucumbers from our morning meals.
The team, from Loughborough University, said research suggests a diet high in vegetables in childhood is associated with a lower risk of disease in adulthood.
Most children don’t eat enough vegetables and there’s ‘no reason’ to exclude foods such as peppers or cucumbers from our morning meals, researchers say
In an article published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, they wrote, “Vegetable consumption is vitally important to the health and development of children. However, in many westernized countries, most children do not eat enough vegetables and consume many foods high in energy and sugar.
“To address this important public health issue, it is necessary to think outside the box.”
In the UK, less than one in five children eat the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Worryingly, a third of children aged five to ten eat less than one serving of vegetables a day.
The researchers added, “Through a process of repetition and reinforcement, vegetable consumption is often associated with midday and evening meals and snacks, but vegetables are rarely associated with and eaten with breakfast. However, there is no nutritional, physiological, or medical reason why children should not be routinely offered vegetables for breakfast.
They said children should learn early on that vegetables can be eaten at any meal, and parents or guardians can start to facilitate this by repeatedly offering vegetables at breakfast and giving the good example by eating them themselves.
In the UK, less than one in five children eat the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Worryingly, a third of children aged five to ten eat less than one serving of vegetables a day
Lead author Dr Chris McLeod said: “Vegetables can be incorporated into a child’s breakfast in a number of ways depending on their age.
“They can either be included in foods like in a mushroom and pepper omelet, in a smoothie by adding spinach, or in porridge by adding grated carrots.
“They could also be added as an accompaniment to a main breakfast, for example cucumber sticks, mushrooms or sugar snap peas alongside their regular food. Ultimately, any food can be eaten at any time of the day – it’s just our learned social norms that lead us to believe that certain foods are “breakfast foods” and others are not.
He added: “Vegetables tend to be low-calorie, vitamin- and mineral-rich foods, which means that in terms of health and weight maintenance, they give kids what they pay for.”