Last Thursday the sound of crunching could be heard across the Northern Rivers as thousands of children simultaneously bit into fresh vegetables.
As part of Vegetable Week, an annual event promoting vegetables to kids and families, the record breaking Big Vegie Crunch’s aim is not only to get kids excited about breaking a record, but to encourage them to try different vegies every day.
It is estimated only 5% of children in NSW eat enough vegetables.
This year, children from 56 schools and 78 Early Childhood Learning Centres in the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) joined with tens of thousands of other children across the state in an attempt to break the record for simultaneous vegie eating.
Acting Manager of Health Promotion for NNSWLHD, Gavin Dart, says it’s recommended that children between 4 and 12 years eat around five serves of vegetables a day, but very few children are doing that. ‘There can be lots of reasons that kids don’t eat vegetables,’ says Mr Dart. ‘They may not have access to them, they don’t like the taste, or think they are boring.’
Dart says that events like the Big Vegie Crunch help kids have fun while learning about food with their friends, and
‘They may try different vegies and find they enjoy them,’ he said. ‘We encourage kids to “Eat The Rainbow” which is one of the best ways to make sure they are getting the different vitamins and minerals packed into vegetables of different colours.’
Students at Biala Special School in Ballina were among those aiming to break the Big Crunch record.
Principal Bhavni Stewart said Biala school is proud of its vegie garden, which has created a deeper connection and understanding of the ‘paddock to plate’ journey of food.
‘Both our Primary and High School students are cooking recipes based on the food they pick and are tasting a range of herbs on top of their dishes,’ said Ms Stewart.
The Big Vegie Crunch and Vegetable Week are part of the Crunch and Sip NSW program, funded by NSW Health.
Results are still being tallied to see if last year’s record of 50,260 crunchers was broken – find the results on the Big Vegie Crunch website.