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Local school children challenged to ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’

Children across Hampshire are being challenged to ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ in a new campaign designed to inspire children to tuck into their vegetables.

Primary schools across the county have signed up to take part in the healthy eating mission which includes vegetable tasting sessions, ‘cook-along’ demonstrations, recipe suggestions and veg-inspired lesson plans. Families can also get involved at home, using online recipes and activities.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Estates and Property, Councillor Steve Forster, said: “Hampshire County Council’s award-winning school meal service, HC3S, devises nutritious, fresh and healthy meals throughout the academic year helping children and young people to flourish. Our menus include a wide range of fruit and vegetables, sourced where possible from local suppliers. But statistically, we know most children are not eating the recommended number of vegetables every day, which is a real cause for concern. The ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ initiative is a great way for schools and families to get kids tasting and talking about vegetables, supported by our fantastic school catering teams.”

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Roz Chadd, said: “Good nutrition and healthy eating play a crucial role in helping children to get the most out of their development and learning. We know that this can be a tough challenge and ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’ is all about inspiring young tastebuds to try new vegetables in school, and at home, with the aim of learning healthy food habits that will last for a lifetime.”

 The six-week campaign – coordinated by the national campaign group Veg Power – is underway in schools now. Each week, a new vegetable will take centre stage and children will be encouraged to try them for the first time or simply to ‘Eat Them to Defeat Them’. The vegetables that will be featured are carrots, peas, sweetcorn, broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers.

In Hampshire, HC3S is arranging tasting sessions during school lunchtimes to present the vegetables in creative ways. Schools that are signed up to this year’s campaign will also be planning a range of supporting activities. Each pupil taking part will receive a mission pack to take home.

 HC3S will also run, in partnership with its rice supplier, Tilda, six virtual cook-along sessions for schools to watch in class, or for families to watch at home. The videos will be released alongside recipes that feature the week’s vegetable. Households will be able to enter a competition by sharing photos online of their home cooking and of their children eating their vegetables.

 In Hampshire, 31% of Year 6 children are overweight or obese, while nationally just 18% of children aged between 5 and 15 ate the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

 Find out more about Eat Them to Defeat Them, and to access the online recipes and activities, on Hampshire County Council’s website: