This year over 4,000 pupils in Academy-run primary schools took part in Veg Power’s ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ which was led by a £3m TV campaign from ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Media.
The initiative aims to drive increased vegetable uptake amongst young children in a fun and enjoyable way. The campaign approaches the problem differently, by agreeing that vegetables are bad and that, collectively, we must defeat them by eating them! As a nutritionist working in education, I have found that making vegetables fun increases engagement and willingness to try these foods again.
This year, six different vegetables were featured across six weeks: carrots, peas, sweetcorn, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers. Our chef development team created some fantastic recipes for our sites to use including a roasted vegetable and tomato burrito and a sweetcorn and sweet potato curry. It was great to see children keen to try these new dishes and enjoy them. The 2018 Health Survey for England revealed that less than a fifth of children aged 5-15 years met the five a day recommendation1 so it’s vital we promote these positive experiences.
Our teams also created some brilliant displays for students and some even dressed up as vegetables too!
Stickers were used to reward the children who gave the vegetables a try and a reward chart and puzzle book were provided to encourage them to continue to defeat vegetables at home.
I spoke to our Chef Director, Chris Ince, about the campaign and he said: “Working in education catering gives us the opportunity to positively influence nutrition and be a part of making a real difference to the students, through offering these experiences and increasing awareness of the delicious and health giving benefits of vegetables as part of an everyday diet.”
“It has been incredibly rewarding to see the pupils engage with vegetables as they have done. We received great feedback from students, team members and clients and we can’t wait to get on board with the campaign again, in 2022.”
Louise Goodall – Company Nutritionist
- NHS HSE 2018 Survey – http://healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk/data-visualisation/data-visualisation/explore-the-trends/fruit-vegetables.aspx?type=child