new study reveals that nearly half of kids (47%) think they NEVER eat
vegetables – yet 22 per cent of parents hide them in EVERY meal.
The study of 1,000 parents and their children aged between 6 and 11 discovered
the most successful hacks mum and dads use – including chores before rewards,
no sweet foods until they’ve eaten their savoury and grating vegetables into
meals. This appears to be working, with a quarter of parents managing to
sneak broccoli into meals despite 31 per cent of kids claiming to despise it.
The research was commissioned by us to celebrate the launch of our new Half White Half Wholemeal range -
with fortified Vitamin D and Calcium, giving parents one more ‘hack’ up their
other popular parenting tactics are freezing fruits or fruit juices to make ice
lollies and sorbets, letting their youngster choose dinner, pudding or
something in the food shop and rewarding them with screen time.
What’s more, almost one in five UK parents (18%) have said that sandwiches are
one of the easiest meal options when sneaking healthier foods into their
children’s diets whilst spaghetti bolognese and stews top the charts.
Trained and practising physician and resident ITV doctor, Doctor Zoe Williams,
who has partnered with us for the study said:
can fully prepare you for parenting – no matter how many books you read or
classes you attend. But there are clever ways to get by as, let’s face it, it’s
not the easiest job and getting kids to bed on time, and getting them to tidy
their room, eat their vegetables and ensuring they get the nutrients they need
can feel like a constant battle.
recent findings just goes to show how much mums and dads rely on little
‘shortcuts’ to help their little ones. Vitamin D and calcium are both hugely
important for children, and help to ensure they grow to have strong bones.
Having them included in a product that children know and love, as well as the
additional benefits from fibre that you get from eating wholemeal bread, makes
the Half and Half range really appealing for parents."
study also found more than half of parents use these tricks to make their life
easier, while 46 per cent use them to teach their youngsters good life
lessons. And a third use strategies in a bid to make sure their youngsters
get the right nutrients in their diet and eat healthy food.
In fact, 24 per cent of doting mums and dads worry their child doesn’t
get enough calcium in their diet, and 33 per cent fret they don’t get enough
As a result, mums and dads will turn to ‘hacks’ an average of six times a week
– as three in 10 say they struggle to get kids to eat their veggies, and 26 per
cent will battle with little ones to get them to eat a balanced diet.
The research also polled children who reckon they get the equivalent of less
than three portions of fruit and veg a day. When asked what foods are
‘healthy’, one in four kids thought carrot cake counted as a nutritious option,
while three in 10 believe banana bread to be wholesome. Nearly a fifth
believe blueberry muffins are good for you, and 26 per cent see oat and raisin
cookies as a healthy option.
The research found parents reckon their little ones are most receptive to these
tricks at the tender age of five. As many as 96 per cent find these hacks
to be generally successful, and 51 per cent even use tactics that their own
parents used on them. Today’s parents are twice as likely to learn any one
of these clever strategies from their mum than their dad. More than a
fifth even learn them from their partner and three in 10 will pick them up
after learning them from a friend.
Jill Charlton, Head of Nutrition at Warburtons, added:
"It’s really interesting to see how parents
sneak veggies into dinners, with kids none the wiser I did the same with my
three children! It also raises a smile to see that youngsters will consider
traditionally unhealthy foods as relatively good for them because it includes a
fruit or vegetable– such as carrot cake.
The inspiration behind our Half White Half
Wholemeal range is to give parents a helping hand in providing their kids with
a balanced diet and making it easy get a third of their daily intake of vitamin
D and calcium.”
ZOE'S TOP TIPS
1. FUN, FUN, FUN
of the very best ways to get children to increase their consumption of
healthier foods is to make it fun. E.g. making faces on plates out of vegetables,
putting fruit onto skewers or having a build your own sandwich station.
fibre is great for health and keeps young tummies fuller for longer, meaning
that children are less likely to want to snack between meals! Sandwiches are a great way to double up – with fibre
from the bread and adding crunchy veggies such as grated carrot, beetroot and
DRINK COW’S MILK
there is a good reason, children should have cow’s milk rather than trendy
plant-based milks. Cow’s milk contains protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and
out for staple kitchen items that have been fortified with extra vitamins and
minerals, as this is a way to ensure that your family is getting more
nutrients, without any additional effort. Bread, milk, and breakfast cereals
are examples of foods that are sometimes fortified with additional nutrients
such as calcium, vitamin D and fibre. Warburtons half and half range of bread
products is a perfect example – made with half white flour and half wholemeal
flour it is a source of fibre and is also fortified with calcium for strong
bones and teeth as well as vitamin D.
vegetables then hiding them in meals is a great way to ensure your children hit
their five a day target. But it’s a good idea to have some of the chopped
veggies on offer too, as a way of exposing your children to the sight and smell
of a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
LET THEM BE IN CHARGE
not possible at every mealtime, but occasionally giving children choice, either
to decide what's for dinner or to ‘build their own’ pizzas, sandwiches or
fajitas. Having a range of ingredients to choose from gives children options
and lets them feel like they’re in the driving seat.
TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF MEALTIMES
You can take a lot of the stress out of meal time by following two simple
rules. Firstly it is the parent or carer’s choice WHEN food is offered and WHAT
TYPES of food are offered. But importantly it is the child’s choice what they
choose to eat and how much of it they eat.
good behaviours reinforces them psychologically. Rewards do not need to be big
or expensive, a hug and praise can actually go a very long way. Using sticker
boards or marble jars allow parents to give small rewards frequently and
children can work towards a larger reward, such as a day out.
EATING THE RAINBOW
fun way to help children increase the amount and variety of fruits and
vegetables that they're eating is to create a rainbow chart. Ask children to
come up with fruits and vegetables for all the different colours in the
rainbow, and set the challenge for the whole family to try to eat the whole
rainbow every week.
GROW YOUR OWN
a child watches a fruit, vegetable or herb grow from a seed then they will
almost definitely enjoy eating the final product. Gardens are ideal, but of
course we don't all have one. Vegepods which are
perfect if you have any outdoor space but actually all you really need is a few
washed out tubs, tins or plant pots and you can start growing on your window