A workshop on children and vegetables in the framework of the EU project HabEat was held in the Restaurant of the Future on April 9.
It was attended by healthcare professionals, policymakers and stakeholders from day care centres and schools. Professor Kees de Graaf opened the workshop by stressing the importance of increasing children’s consumption of vegetables. Coraline Barends explained that weaning with vegetables has a positive effect on later acceptance and intake of vegetables.
Dr Gertrude Zeinstra presented earlier work showing that 4-to-12-year-olds prefer crunchy vegetables without brown colouring due to preparation. Offering a choice of vegetables may be a good strategy and is a promising topic for future research. Subsequently, HabEat studies were presented. Victoire de Wild showed that toddlers increased their vegetable intake by 50% with vegetable soups and by 300% for dried vegetable crisps after repeated exposure to these products. Dr Valesca Kooijman showed that, while repeated exposure at school seemed ineffective in increasing the intake of previously known vegetables among 4-to-6-year-olds, their consumption was still a valuable addition to children’s current vegetable intake. The audience found this interactive evening both interesting and fruitful.