Vegetables: cucumbers and tomatoes.
(photo credit: AMY SPIRO)
To get kids to eat their fruits and veggies, the Agriculture Ministry has joined hands with the Israel Parents Communities Forum to increase health-food awareness among school-aged children.
The ministry began its “Half- Half” campaign about a month ago, to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption among members of the public, old and young.
Through the new partnership with the Parents Forum, parents and children will be the particular targets of the campaign’s slogan: “So what are you putting on the second half of the plate?” – now amended to, “So what are kids putting on the second half of the plate?” As part of the campaign, the Agriculture Ministry and the Parents Forum will host a competition via social media called “My Other Half,” in which students will be tasked with designing the most creative looking vegetable plates.
In addition, the partners will distribute a Green Week pamphlet every week, to raise awareness about the nutritional value and qualities of fruits and vegetables grown in Israel, the ministry said.
Zev Goldblatt, chairman of the Parents Forum, said, “Learning to love the fruits of Israel together with concern for a healthy diet for our children is consistent with the values we want to bequeath as part of our educational outlook.
“As the body representing the parents of Israel – we will take care to reach the plate of every child in the educational system this year.”
The Parents Forum is made up of 200 parents who are the chairmen and women of their local parents associations, and all in all represents the parents of more than 1.5 million Israeli pupils.
From the Agriculture Ministry’s perspective, encouraging Israelis to eat their fruits and vegetables has many benefits.
“The importance of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is divided half and half,” said Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel. “The first half is to strengthen farmers and empower Israeli agriculture.
The other half is simply because it’s healthier. The research we conducted shows that most parents are not convinced that their children eat enough fruits and vegetables, but are not doing anything special to improve this – and we want to improve things.”
The ministry launched its Half- Half campaign following a survey conducted among members of the public about their fruit and vegetable habits. The results revealed that while most Israelis surveyed reported eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis and were aware that breakfast presents a good opportunity for their consumption, they more often viewed fruit as a snack and vegetables as a part of regular meals. The campaign is therefore emphasizing the importance of involving each in both snack and meal time.
According to the survey, 78 percent of haredi parents serve their children vegetables at dinner. In the Arab sector, 49% give their kids vegetables as a snack and 45% give them at dinner.
Looking at the population as a whole, the survey found that 60% of parents allow their children salty snacks between meals, while only 35% provide vegetables at snack time. Meanwhile, 59% of parents said they do not make a special activity out of eating fruits and vegetables, and only 3% reported serving them as a regular part of meals.