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Price of food a key barrier to providing healthy diets for children

A new survey, commissioned for Healthy Eating Week (10 -14 June 2024) by the British Nutrition Foundation and conducted by YouGov found that the price of healthier foods is the main factor holding parents back from feeding their children a healthy diet.

This survey asked 1007 British parents of children up to age 18, to choose which factors made it harder to feed their children a healthy diet, what would help them provide a healthier diet and what makes it difficult to get their children to eat vegetables.

In response, almost half of all parents surveyed (45%) said that healthy food being more expensive than unhealthy foods made it harder. But over half (56%) said that discounts on healthier foods would help them to provide a healthy diet for their children and 41% said that healthy free school lunches would make this easier.

When asked about the barriers to getting their children to eat vegetables, the top responses from parents were that children prefer processed foods (38%), followed by children refusing to eat vegetables (37%).

During Healthy Eating Week the British Nutrition Foundation will be encouraging parents to have a ‘Veggie Victory’ with their children. This means aiming to serve two types of vegetable each night to their children at dinner time. Parents should encourage children to try the vegetables but not be disheartened if they won’t eat all of them.

Bridget Benelam, Nutrition Communications Manager at the British Nutrition Foundation said “Vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet and it’s important that children learn to like them. But we know it can be a struggle to get children to eat vegetables. Many of us are on a tight budget, but there are cheaper options. For example, a portion of carrots can be as little as 8p, beetroot about 10p and frozen vegetables such as peas, spinach, or cauliflower less than 15p a portion. So, it’s really worth giving extra vegetables a try this Healthy Eating Week to kick-start healthier habits with your children.”

The Foundation is providing a Veggie Victory reward chart to use with children, as well as a factsheet, recipes and ideas for vegetables on a budget, with a list of 15 vegetables that are less than 50p a portion on average. These are available to download

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