Eleven local fruit and vegetable traders are taking part in the Change4Life Market Stalls Project, a pilot programme running across the East of England.
Seven of those traders are in the areas served by NHS Norfolk and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney. They have been provided with a free starter kit of Change4Life materials which they can use as incentives to boost sales of fruit and vegetables on their stall.
The initiative, the first of its kind in the country, launches this month and aims to help more people reach the recommended target of five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day.
Mike and Debs Read run a fresh fruit and veg stall on Norwich Market, with their son Brendan. Brendan said: “Shopping at the market means you can get really fresh fruit and veg with service and advice you won’t get elsewhere.
Market stalls also taking part are in Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Thetford, Harleston, Aylsham, Wymondham, Fakenham, Attleborough, Rickinghall, Beccles and Diss plus a number of stalls in Essex.
Alex Lynch, Change4Life Coordinator at NHS Norfolk, said: “We’re delighted to offer our local traders this unique opportunity to benefit from a well-loved national brand. These traders are at the heart of the community and so are perfectly placed to help people make healthier choices when they’re shopping. We hope they’ll be ambassadors for Change4Life’s healthy lifestyle advice.”
Tracey Read, Health Promotion Practitioner at East Coast Community Healthcare, said: “Eating at least five portions of fruit and veg every day is key to a healthier lifestyle and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Currently though, only around a quarter of adults in England are getting their recommended 5 a day.”
The project is a development of the Change4Life Convenience Store Programme, which launched in the region in November 2010. After improving the merchandising and range available, all of the selected convenience stores recorded an uplift in sales of fruit and vegetables.
It follows the announcement earlier this month of the Government’s ambitious new plan to tackle obesity, which saw a bid to slash five billion calories off the nation’s daily diet.
Change4Life is a nationwide movement which aims to help us all, but especially children, eat well, move more and live longer. For more information visit www.nhs.uk/Change4Life or call 0300 123 4567.
First try getting them to put some greens in their mouth by offering something small, like a sticker, as a reward. Next time get them to swallow just a mouthful, then two, and so on. You could also try ‘disguising’ veg, mix a handful of peas into mashed potato, or add some finely chopped peppers to a pizza.
Vegetables don’t taste so good and lose some of their vitamins as they get older. If they go a bit soft, just boil, stew or mash them. Frozen veg keeps longer and the vitamins are preserved so it’s just as good for you as fresh. Steaming and microwaving are good ways to cook most veg. If you’re boiling, don’t use too much water or cook them for too long, five minutes is enough for most veg – otherwise they’ll go soggy and lose nutrients.
Try making it easier to eat – chop an apple into wedges and take the core out rather than giving it to them whole. You could also try giving them a dollop of lower fat yogurt to dip them in too – it will seem like much more fun.
There are so many exotic varieties available now too, so it’s easy to be experimental. If you find something that baffles you, ask the shopkeeper or stall owner, or look it up on the internet if you know the name of it – you might find a new favourite.
Potatoes are a vegetable, but they don’t count towards your 5 a day. They are classified nutritionally as a starchy food. That’s because when eaten as part of a meal, they are generally used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, pasta or rice.
Potatoes are a good source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium. Although they don’t contain much vitamin C compared to other vegetables, in Britain we get a lot of our daily vitamin C from potatoes because we eat so many.