Ipswich mum heads national campaign

HOW do you get your child to eat five fresh fruit and vegetables a day? One Suffolk mum has found ingenious ways to hide them in meals, and been chosen to help lead a new national healthy eating campaign.

By Tracey Sparling

HOW do you get your child to eat five fresh fruit and vegetables a day? One Suffolk mum has found ingenious ways to hide them in meals, and been chosen to help lead a new national healthy eating campaign. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports.

AT the age of three, Clair Upson's son Joseph is starting to get fussy with food - all he wants at the moment is cake!

Cake for breakfast, followed by chocolate, is his favourite request, but Clair has found novel ways to make him eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. She has a few useful tips, as she's is one of 40 British mums selected to help front the government's new Top tips for Top Mums five-a-day campaign.

Clair's discoveries on how to get your child to enjoy the green stuff, are featured on the campaign website.

The 32-year-old from Ipswich, who works as a probation officer, said: “Joseph has a really sweet tooth. He does like smoothies, so I chuck lots of blueberries and frozen fruit in, and I make old-style ice lollies in plastic moulds, with fresh fruit juice - he wolfs those down!

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“He's not bad at vegetables but I just can't get him to eat fruit so I have to hide it in things everywhere I can. I make flapjacks and put cherries in it. I chop the veg up very finely and put it in tomato sauce with pasta.

“I buy all my fruit and vegetables from Ipswich Market as it's cheaper and tastier than supermarket products. I try to vary my dishes as much as possible eg stir-fry, pasta, omelette (you can add loads of veg), noodles, cous-cous and mixed veg.

She added: “I find cooking very time consuming, but I try to make quick meals like stir-fries and fajitas or uses my slow cooker to pop a casserole in, in the morning.

"To try and save time preparing food, I make quick meals like stir-fries or start cooking a casserole in the morning so it's ready for the evening. Omelettes are also really quick and you can add loads of mixed vegetables to them, such as onions, spinach, and sweetcorn."

She gets books from Ipswich Library to give her inspiration for making food more healthy. Clair said: “Healthy eating is so important for growing children, but that some parents don't have enough time and money to do it properly.”

As the government's biggest five-a-day campaign to date, Top tips for Top Mums focuses on helping young families with children aged two -11 increase their consumption of fruit and veg.

It encourages parents to send in and share their tips and ideas about how they get their children to eat more fruit and veg and to help them overcome particular barriers such as cost, time, fussy children, lack of cooking skills and lack of structured meal times.

Mum and actress Patsy Palmer, is lending celebrity support.

Patsy said: "I am very happy to be involved with the campaign. It's really important that we encourage our children to enjoy eating more fruit and veg, but we know this isn't always easy.

“This campaign will help by giving parents the opportunity to share ideas, which have worked for them and their families to get their kids eating more fruit and veg."

N The campaign comes as Sainsbury's launches 'tomberries', tiny tomatoes the size of berries which are expected to be popular with children. The 1cm tomberries come from a wild strain which has been commercially cultivated in Holland for the first time.

Clair's Top Tips:

Use frozen fruit in smoothies as you can cram loads of different things into it

Give your kids a glass of fresh fruit juice at breakfast time - that's one portion!

Don't peel veg as you lose all the vitamins - just make sure they're clean

Don't over cook veg as it doesn't taste nice like this

Patsy's Top Tips:

Freeze fruit purees as ice lollies kids love them

Give them things to pick i.e.; chopped carrots, chopped apple, sprinkle a few raisins on top to make them sweet

Add some fruit to their breakfast

Give them fruit and veg snacks to eat in school

Source: www.5aday.nhs.uk/TopTipsForTopMums