School Fruit Scheme: free fruit and vegetables for children
Fruits and vegetables taste great and are very healthy. With plenty of vitamins and minerals they make children fit for play and learning and help them to grow up healthy. Therefore should the little ones as possible every day, eat five servings of colorful vitamin donors, recommends the Europe Nutrition Society. But do this only very few children. Most eat mainly vegetables too little.
With a free extra portion in school and kindergarten, the European School Fruit Scheme will make the kids fruits and vegetables tasty. So they should learn, plenty to eat them and in the long term improve their eating habits. To anchor this in the minds of the little ones, supplemented lessons about healthy eating, the distribution of free fruit.
Bad marks for fruit and vegetable consumption
Children eat too little fruit and vegetables, which has the currently most important trace on the health of children and adolescents in Europe. Only about a third of children consumed at least twice a day fruit and vegetables. It should ideally be five servings a day, or about five little hands full. Because fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and phytochemicals. Thus they provide valuable nutrients for growth, physical and mental performance and protect against disease. At the same time to eat enough of the colorful fruits and have few calories – an important contribution to prevent obesity.
School Fruit Scheme: EU distributes fruit and vegetables
To increase fruit and vegetable consumption by children, the European Commission has developed the School Fruit Scheme in the 2009/2010 school year. Through this program, children in the participating primary schools and kindergartens receive more times a week free fruit or vegetable. So the kids learn early on that at every meal is required fruits and vegetables are. You learn the diversity of varieties known, making them accept these foods easier.
In the meantime, the School Fruit Scheme was officially renamed the School Fruit and Vegetable Program. Vegetables, however, was already from the beginning a central component of the program.
What does the school fruit and vegetable program?
Fresh fruits and vegetables are available in the participating schools and kindergartens three times a week. The children receive the fruits either as a whole or in pieces, for example, in the form of pins or cubes. However, it may be offered only fruits and vegetables, which was not further prepared, and does not contain sugar, fat, salt, sweeteners and other ingredients. In addition to the distribution of free fruit and vegetables to the issue of healthy eating in schools and the kindergarten are treated. How this is implemented exactly which schools and kindergartens can decide for yourself. For example, teachers can visit a farm or an orchard with the students. It can create its own school garden or carried out a project day on the subject of “healthy eating”. For this is the School Fruit Scheme and teaching materials available.
Application: Who can participate?
In principle, all kindergartens and schools can participate in the School Fruit and Vegetable Program. Also special schools are eligible to apply. Normally only the first children to join the fourth class may, in special schools and children in grades five and six. An EU special concern is to support underprivileged schools with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Anyone willing to help, should apply. In Europe, the school fruit and vegetable program is implemented by the provinces. The requirements for the application differ in the provinces. Interested schools and kindergartens can check on the special site of your state and apply there also.
Who pays and what?
In order to promote the School Fruit Scheme, the EU took over so far half of the costs incurred for the fruits and vegetables. The other half is paid by schools to their own resources. To this end, parents or sponsors may be involved in the costs. Overall, the European Commission has to date give 90 million EUR per school year for the School Fruit Scheme. So that more schools to participate than ever, the EU will pay in the school year 2014/15 even 75% of the costs for fruits and vegetables. So the schools must assume yet only 25% of costs. For this, the EU-funding was increased on 150 million Euro from 2014.