What's it all about?
The School Fruit and Vegetable Sceme is a national government programme entitling all children aged four to six in infant, primary and specila Local Education Authority maintained schools to a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day. Your child's school has chosen to take part in the scheme.
Because your child's class is eligible to benefit from the scheme, your child will be given a free piece of . fruit or vegetC3ble at school each day. They may be given an' apple, pear, banana, satsuma, carrot, some cherry tomatoes or other fruit or vegetable it depends what's in season.
Research shows that the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme is very popular with schools and parents, with 96 per cent of eligible schools choosing to take part.
The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme is part of the national 5 A DAY programme. Fruit and vegetables are key to a healthier lifestyle for all of us and experts recommend that everyone eats at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. On average, children in England eat only two portions a day. Many children eat fewer than that. A national survey found that one in five children didn't eat any fruit at all in a week.
How much is a portion?
A 'portion' is a typical serving or helping of fruit or vegetables, for example, an apple, a banana, three heaped tablespoonfuls of frozen peas or canned sweetcorn, or a glass of fruit juice. The portion size may be smaller foryoung children, but they can still aim for at least five portions of a varietyof fruit and vegetables each day.
Look out for the 5 A DAY portion indicator on food packets. This shows how many portions of fruit and vegetables a typical serving of the food contains. Each filled-in square of the portion indicator represents one portion.
- Fresh, frozen, canned, dried or cooked fruit and vegetables count.
Potatoes don't count as they play a differnt part in our diet.
- Fruit and vegetables dishes count.
Tomato ketchup and jam don't count.
- Beans and pulses - for example, baked beans, kidney beans or lentils - count, but only once a day.
- Fruit juice counts, but no matter how much is drunk in a day, it only counts as one portion.
Fruit squashes, sweetened and fizzy fruit drinks don't count.
How you can help?
Encourage your child to choose vegetables and fruit' at school lunches. National standards for school lunches mean that vegetables and fruit are on offer every day.
If your child takes a packed lunch to school, put in a piece of fruit or vegetable, such as a carrot, or some dried fruit or 100 per cent pure fruit juice. Note that dried fruits and fruit juices should only be consumed at mealtimes to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Ask your child about the fruit and vegetables they have eaten at school. Explain that eating fruit and vegetables will help them grow and stay healthy.
Encourage your child to use other opportunities to eat fruit and vegetables at school too, for example, if there is a tuckshop or breakfast club.