- Food Dudes
- The "Food Dudes" Programme [1 MB]
- Department of Agriculture & Food - EU School Milk Scheme
- Agricultural Services and Rural Development - EU Aid
- Ministry of Education - Annual Reports
- Malta Exercise Health & Fitness Association
- Jamie Oliver - School Dinners
- The Food Guide Pyramid
- The eatwell plate
- Healthy Schools
- School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme
- 5 a day
- Dairy Co - The School Milk Project
- Organic Gardens for Schools
- Food Dudes
- Free fruit - Scotland
- Food for life
- The Rural Payments Agency (England, Scotland and Wales)
- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland)
- The School Milk Project
Other initiatives in Europe
The Tasty Bunch leaflet [3 MB]
1. How can I encourage my child to eat more fruits and vegetables?
Children are often reluctant to spontaneously eat fruit and vegetables and often prefer the taste of other foods, including salty or sweet snacks. Most of the time they eat what is available at home.
Therefore take care about what you serve at meals and the kinds of snacks you have in your cupboards!
Here are some tips to make them appreciate healthy foods:
Be sure to serve vegetables and fruit at every meal and even between the meals so that eating them becomes a daily routine;
Make it easy for your child to have the choice between various healthier snacks, by keeping fruits and vegetables at hand and ready to eat;
Make eating fruit easier, for example, by preparing a fruit salad;
Finally, the best way to encourage your child to eat fruit and vegetables is to eat them yourself! Children are more likely to follow the example of adults they see every day. By eating healthier food you will give your child the right message.
2. Why is calcium so important?
Calcium is a key building nutrient for strong and healthy bones. It is therefore essential that calcium is included in your child's diet, particularly from childhood to adolescence. This ensures that your kids get a good start to their adult lives with the strongest bones possible.
It is so important since we know that bone calcium begins to decrease as early as young adulthood, bringing with it a risk of developing bone diseases such as osteoporosis or fractures due to weakened bones.
Have a look at the current recommendations from the European Scientific Committee on Food on calcium intakes:
1 to 3 years: 400mg of calcium daily
4 to 6 years: 450mg
7 to 10 years: 550mg
11 to 17 years: 1,000mg
To give you an example, one pot of plain milk yoghurt (200ml) contains about 275mg of calcium.
Good sources of calcium can be found in milk and other dairy products, such as yoghurt or cheese where you should choose lower-fat options, but also in other food such as green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. And don't forget to encourage your child to take part in regular physical activities, which are vital to bone health too!
3. How can I motivate my child to stay interested in regular physical activities?
As children grow older, they may lose interest in playing or exercising as they once did.
However, regular exercise helps them to remain fit and brings many benefits, such as strong bones and muscles, cardiovascular health and weight control. A good physical condition helps them also to develop self-esteem and alertness.
Keep in mind that you can just walk instead of taking your car for small distances or use the stairs more instead of jumping into the elevator. And if your kid is happy to go for more sports and play with his or her friends' team, then support your child wisely.
Here are some tips to motivate your child to remain active:
Firstly, try to choose an activity that fits into your child's age group as otherwise she/he will quickly become bored or frustrated;
Secondly, make it easy for your kid to take part in a physical activity by providing him/her with the right equipment or taking him/her to the various sporting facilities or clubs;
Finally, your child should have fun while playing! She/he has to enjoy an activity otherwise she/he will consider it as a burden and there is little hope that she/he will want to continue!
Take the time to notice and compliment him/her on his/her improvements: this will encourage him/her to continue playing.
4. How can I encourage my child to have breakfast in the morning?
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and is essential for a healthy start. Our bodies, and particularly children's, need to be refuelled in the morning. Skipping breakfast can make them feel tired and restless, as well as get hungry before lunchtime. A balanced breakfast will help them avoid grabbing snacks before the next main meal.
If your child is not hungry in the morning, make a packed breakfast so that she/he can eat it later in the morning: fresh fruits, individual boxes of cereals and yoghurts are easy to carry.
Stock your kitchen with different healthy breakfast options.
Try to make breakfast an appealing meal by varying the options and being aware that they include good sources of nutrients (such as carbohydrates, protein and fibre): whole grain cereals, fresh fruits, yoghurt, whole grain bread, eggs, cheese, fruit juice, milk, etc.
5. How can I prevent my child from eating the same meal everyday?
At each meal encourage children to try at least a few bites of different nutritious foods, explaining to them the benefits for their bodies. Be patient! Children are often slow to accept tastes and textures they don't know.
Try also to involve your child in choosing some new recipes with ingredients which she/he likes and suggest that she/he comes to the shops with you and that you cook the meal together.
These recommendations are intended for people generally in good health and who can consume all foods without any problem.
Facts & figures
- European Commission website on the youth health initiative with background reports
- EU Health Strategy 2008-2013
- Health determinants
- Standard Eurobarometer 70, December 2008 [2 MB]
- Special Eurobarometer March 2008, "Europeans, Agriculture and the Common Agricultural Policy" [2 MB]
- WHO 2007, "The Challenge of Obesity in the WHO European Region and the strategies for response" [4 MB]
- Commission of the European Communities, "Impact Assessment Report - on a proposal for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption by school children", COM(2007) 279 Final [2 MB]
- International Obesity TaskForce response to "Towards a possible European school fruit scheme - Consultation document for impact assessment" [40 KB]
- European Commission - Nutrition and Physical Activity
- European Commission - Consumption/availability of fruit, excluding juice
- European Commission - Consumption/availability of vegetables
- The challenge of obesity in the WHO European Region [53 KB]
- Global perspectives on obesity prevention: WHO/Europe presents European experiences on physical activity promotion at major conference in the United States
- EuroHealthNet - Focusing on Obesity Through a Health Equity Lens
- Eurobarometer on Health and Food (2006) [2 MB]
- WHO/HSBC Forum 2006, "Addressing the socioeconomic determinants of healthy eating habits and physical activity levels among adolescents" [2 MB]
- Special Eurobarometer November 2006, "Health and Food" [2 MB]
- "Inequalities in young people's health" The HBSC international report from the 2005/2006 survey
- Lobstein T. & Baur L. A. 2004, "Policies to prevent childhood obesity in the European Union", European Journal of Public Health, 2004
- The EU School Fruit Scheme
- The European School Milk Scheme
- PRO CHILDREN - Boosting fruit and vegetable consumption to keep children healthy
- HEL ENA - Healthier adolescents make healthier adults
- IDEFICS - Identifying the causes of childhood weight and obesity disorders, intervening before it is too late
- EARNEST - Perinatal nutrition influences adult health
- OBELIX - The impact of food contaminants in perinatal nutrition on obesity development
- NUTRIMENTHE - Effect of diet on the mental performance of children
- TOBI - Preventing and reversing the consequence of obesity [95 KB]
- GIPIO - Developing anti-obesity drugs
- PREBOBEDIA - New genes target to treat diabetes and obesity
- REPROBESITY - New therapeutic agents against complicated obesity
- EURRECA - Harmonising nutrient recommendations across Europe with special focus on vulnerable groups and consumer understanding
- EUROFIR - European food information resource network
- EATWELL - Interventions to Promote Healthy Eating Habits: Evaluation and Recommendations
- FLABEL - Food Labelling to Advance Better Education for Life
- HEALTHGRAIN - Exploiting bioactivity of European cereal grains for improved nutrition and health benefits
- FLAVO - Flavonoids in fruits and vegetables: their impact on food quality, nutrition and human health
- FLORA - Flavonoids and related phenolics for healthy living using orally recommended antioxidants
- LYCOCARD - Role of lycopene for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases
- LIPIDIDIET - Theurapeutic and preventive impact of nutritional lipids on neuronal and cognitive performance in aging, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia
Other useful links
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