The See & Eat project has launched a new website offering a range of free activities and 24 eBooks in multiple languages to help parents encourage young children to eat a greater variety of vegetables. Research suggests that when children are shown images of vegetables in picture books, it increases their willingness to try them.
Activities include a flash card game where children are asked to match pictures to the names of vegetables, VeggieSense, a guess-the-vegetable activity where children can explore vegetables through sight, touch and smell, and instructions on how to grow your own cress. The 24 interactive See & Eat eBooks can be viewed and personalised, using audio, video and pictures, through the Our Story 2 app. The app is free to download and available for both tablets and smartphones via the Apple and Android app stores.
‘Vegetables can be difficult to introduce to young children as they’re less sweet than fruit and can often be rejected when first offered,’ explains Dr Natalie Masento, a collaborator on the project at the University of Reading. ‘But it’s been shown that children’s acceptance of vegetables can be boosted purely through increasing visual familiarity.’
Helena Gibson-Moore is from the British Nutrition Foundation who were involved with the project. She says: ‘It’s key to introduce lots of vegetables early on. Eating a variety is important as different types and colours contain varying combinations of essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fibre. Trying a wide range of vegetables introduces children to an array of tastes and textures.’