The Children's Food Trust has teamed up with children's food writer and broadcaster Fiona Faulkner to get children to eat more fruit and vegetables at school, amid concerns that some are not eating enough.
Faulkner will work with the charity on a new campaign, launched today, aimed at helping parents and school cooks to encourage children to "take two" of their five-a-day every lunchtime at school. National research by the trust suggests that many of them fail to do so.
A study by Faulkner of 300 five to 15 year olds found that some children were unsure of where fruit and vegetables come from, with many still afraid to try new varieties. Some suggested that beetroot is a poisonous plant and that broccoli grows on trees.
She commented: "Our findings are shocking - but perhaps not surprising. So if we can get kids to eat two of their five-a-day every day in their school lunch by the end of 2013, that would be a huge step forward.
"It's not easy, as our findings show. That's why parents and school cooks, who are often already being really creative to get kids eating fruit and veg, need all the tips and tricks they can get."
Children's Food Trust nutritionist Tricia Mucavele added: "Fruit and veg are excellent sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, iron and zinc, and also for fibre - which we all need for a healthy digestive system.
"Eating fruit and veg every day can also help prevent things like heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, and helps us all avoid deficiencies in essential nutrients. So by getting your kids into good fruit and veg habits while they're young, you're helping to look after their health for the future, too."
Faulkner has worked with the trust to develop a series of tips to include fruit and veg in meals. These include using grated carrots or courgettes in a homemade pizza base, putting dried fruit into savoury dishes, such as apricots in tagines or curries, and vegetables into savoury muffins.
The full list of tips can be downloaded at www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/taketwo.