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Two Thirds Of New Zealand Children Not Getting Enough Vegetables

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Two Thirds Of New Zealand Children Not Getting Enough Vegetables

A new national survey shows that more than two thirds of New Zealand children and young people are not getting their recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake, despite saying they care very much about staying fit and being physically active.

The National Survey of Children and Young People's Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviours in New Zealand looked at the eating habits and attitudes of more than 2,500 children and young people across the country. It found that less than one third are eating the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake of five servings per day.

While most children are eating enough fruit, their vegetable intake is particularly poor, with just under forty per cent eating three or more servings per day.

"Vegetables are traditionally the sticking point for children. The best way to get children eating them is to start with a vegetable they like and use this as a base to introduce other types," said Glenda Gourley, nutritionist and food and education consultant for Potatoes New Zealand.

"Potatoes are a great place to start because they're Kiwi kids' favourite vegetable. Most kids say 'yum' rather than 'yuck' when offered potatoes, unlike most other vegetables. Simple, child-friendly dishes like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes with corn and onion, or oven baked potato wedges are an excellent way to get young people used to eating vegetables."

"Potatoes are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A medium-sized potato contains nearly half the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C."

Although potatoes have a reputation for being fattening, Glenda said the opposite is true. "Potatoes are fat free and a good source of carbohydrates, so they make you feel full longer than other foods, which stops you from snacking between meals," she said.

To help parents encourage their children to eat vegetables, visit for an easy-to-make series of Spudtacular recipes. Written by children, they're potato-based recipes - these are some of the 1,200 potato-based recipes Kiwi children submitted last year as part of a competition for Potatoes NZ.

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