A health start begins at home
- Published on Friday, 08 October 2010 12:58
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Families should have the choice to buy frozen fruit and veg for a Healthy Start
‘Cheating’ in the kitchen to make healthy dinners is no longer a sin, thanks to top chefs like Delia Smith, who have recently come out of the closet in their use of frozen fruit and vegetables in cooking.
Frozen fruit and vegetables can be just as healthy as fresh produce, that’s why the Government is launching a consultation that will, if agreed, see the Healthy Start scheme let low-income families put their vouchers towards the cost of frozen fruit and vegetables as well as the milk, fresh fruit and vegetables currently allowed.
It means that vulnerable pregnant women and young families with the greatest need will have an added incentive to give their children the best start in life.
Under the proposals, families would benefit from:
• More choice: being able to buy either fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables would mean they can buy whatever most suits their needs.
• More value: frozen fruit and vegetables can compete on cost with fresh fruit and vegetables.
• More flexibility: where fresh fruit and vegetables aren’t going to be used straight away frozen fruit and vegetables can help reduce overall food waste - you can use as much as you need when you need it and store the rest.
• More ways to meet the 5-A-DAY goal: eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day can significantly reduce deaths from stroke, some cancers and coronary heart disease. So anything that encourages pregnant women and young families to eat more of all kinds of fruit and vegetables can only be a good thing.
Mums and dads can confidently cook with frozen fruit and vegetables because the nutritional value can be at least as good as fresh. In fact, as well as counting towards your 5-A-DAY, frozen fruit and vegetables contain as many, if not more, vitamins than poorly stored or prepared fresh produce.
Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley said:
“We’re looking at including frozen fruit and vegetables in the Healthy Start scheme.
“Healthy Start helps more than half a million pregnant women and low-income families by giving them vouchers that can be used to buy milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, and also coupons which can be exchanged for free vitamins for women and children.
“Plain frozen fruit and vegetables count towards your 5-A-DAY and can contain as many - if not more – vitamins than poorly stored fresh produce. Frozen goods are often cheaper than fresh and they can last longer, so there’s less food waste too. This would mean that families on Healthy Start have access to a much greater range of produce all year round.
“Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can significantly reduce deaths from stroke, some cancers and coronary heart disease, so it’s important that people have enough.”
Nutritionist, Amanda Ursell, said:
“Families need easy access to healthier food, and a bag of frozen fruit or vegetables from the local corner shop when fresh produce isn't available can be a healthy lifeline to go with any meal.
“Frozen fruit and vegetables give parents far more flexibility so it makes complete sense to include frozen fruit and vegetables in Healthy Start.”