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Can school meals help with fussy eaters?

Eating habits and top vegetables for kids revealed

Eating school dinners

School lunches can tempt fussy eaters to try new foods and diversify their eating habits, a survey has suggested – while carrots are your best bet when persuading your child to eat vegetables.

The School Food Trust surveyed 1,000 parents and found more than 80% of those with children who eat school meals tried food they would never have eaten at home.

A further half of parents said they’d been asked to make dishes at home their children had tried and enjoyed from the school canteen.

The Trust suggests children often choose the same things to eat as their friends at school, making ‘school meals a good option for fussy eaters’.

Most popular vegetables for kids

The survey also sought to find out which vegetables were most popular with children – with the carrot coming out on top:

1. Carrot (90%)

2. Baked beans (77%)

3. Sweetcorn (76%)

4. Peas (75%)

5. Broccoli (74%)

6. Cucumber (72%)

7. Tomato (59%)

8. Green bean (51%)

9. Brussels sprout (39%)

10. Spinach (32%)

11. Chickpea (21%)

12. Pumpkin (19%)

13. Radish (18%)

14. Aubergine (16%)

15. Artichoke (6%)

Only 2% of the parents surveyed had children unwilling to eat any vegetables at all.

Healthy kids’ meals

New rules for maintained schools in England mean all school meals must now meet specific nutritional standards.

Which? food campaigner Miranda Watson says: ‘Getting children interested in healthier foods can be a nightmare for many parents so it’s great to see new school meals can help to make this challenge easier.’

The poll was commissioned after separate research gathered by parenting website Mumsnet suggested some parents give fussy eating kids packed lunches because they were worried they wouldn’t eat anything else.

Find out more about Which?’s campaign to make healthier eating easier for all.

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