New healthy eating guide for youngsters

Parents and guardians may be encouraged to instil healthier eating habits in children with the help of newly-published guidelines. The School Food Trust has introduced the recommendations for preschool children in an attempt to reduce obesity.

As part of the initiative, people are to be given information on what food little ones should be given, recipes to prepare healthy meals and assistance to help feed fussy eaters.

The voluntary guidelines are nationally recognised as a source of information aimed at numerous service providers, including childminders.

Children's Minister Sarah Teather - who is the Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central - said: "Nurseries play a vital role in getting children from all backgrounds to develop good eating habits - but many lack the expert knowledge of what is the best food to serve."

Ms Teather added healthy eating plays an important role in ensuring young people are able to get a decent start in life.

Professor Andrew Hill, a Chartered Psychologist from Leeds University Medical School, commented: "Guidelines for healthy eating are always welcome for any age group. But nutritional health should go alongside psychological health. 

"So it's important that children learn to enjoy eating a wide range of foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables and the social environment of eating. 

"Eating should be pleasurable as well as nutritious. If these guidelines for service providers also help give parents confidence in how and what to feed their young children, then so much the better."