Castlemaine goes pro-fruit and veg for children

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The two Latrobe University students are using their community placement to challenge Castlemaine pubs to be the businesses that make a healthy change for young diners.

Paige North and Jennifer Tsoutsoulis, who are both completing their Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics, are working with Castlemaine Health dietitians to encourage local pubs to serve more fruit and vegetables to children.

The two students are running a five-week project that’s surveying local parents to find out if they’d like to see more fruit and vegetables on the menu for children. The students will then work with local pubs to put those options on the menu. They’ll also make a short video to tell the story.

Paige said: “We’re really excited about the project and so far the response from local businesses has been fantastic. We’ve had the Cumberland Hotel and The Bridge Hotel both sign up to be part of the trial. It goes to show how open they are to hearing new ideas and we’re really looking forward to working with them.”

The project aims to improve nutritional option for meals away from home in Castlemaine. The survey asks if the current menus are giving parents the choices they want to make for their kids. It also asks if parents would be willing to pay a little more to have meals served with sides of vegetables and fruit.

Jennifer said: “Making healthy choices for children when dining out can be really difficult for parents. You’re often asked to choose between fish and chips, nuggets and chips, and pizza. While these types of meals can be eaten occasionally, we think that Castlemaine parents probably have some great ideas for how to creatively expand the menu and still get kids excited about food.”

While the current project aims to put more fruit and vegetables on children’s menus, Jennifer and Paige plan to give recommendations to pubs at the end of the five-week trial on how they might further expand their menus to include meals that are healthier for children, for example including vegetarian options.

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