Healthy Start » Fruit and vegetables

Healthy Start » Fruit and vegetables.

Young girl holding an apple

Fruit and vegetables 

Fruit and vegetables are a great source of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre that will help keep you healthy and help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

You can use your Healthy Start vouchers to buy plain fresh or frozen fruit and veg. And eating them doesn’t have to be a chore – for example, a big green salad, a fruit salad, mixed veg on the side, lots of veg with a roast meal, or a homemade smoothie can all help you get to your recommended five portions a day.

How to get your five a day 

To get the most benefit from your five portions, eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables don’t have to be fresh to count as a portion. Nor do they have to be eaten on their own – they can also count if they’re part of a meal or dish.

One adult portion is 80g.

Here’s a guide to what makes a portion:

  • one medium piece of fruit, such as an apple, banana or orange
  • one medium tomato
  • one small glass (150ml) of pure fruit or vegetable juice
  • one heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas
  • two medium broccoli florets
  • three heaped tablespoons of fresh, tinned or frozen veg, such as carrots, sweetcorn or peas.

Remember: certain foods, such as beans/pulses and fruit juice, only count as one portion no matter how much of them you eat or drink in a day.

Tips to get the most from your Healthy Start fruit and veg 

  • Buy fruit and veg in season – they can be cheaper and tastier than those out of season.
  • Loose fruit and veg can be much cheaper than pre-packaged versions.
  • Some market stalls accept Healthy Start vouchers and they can have great deals on fruit and veg.
  • If you have fresh fruit and veg that need to be used up, try making a smoothie or a soup or adding the extra veg to a casserole or curry.
  • Frozen fruit and veg can be cheap when fresh fruit and veg are out of season – you can also use just the amount you need and store the rest in the freezer for next time.

Looking for some tasty recipes? Try ours.

What fruit and veg should my baby eat?

As children move on to solids and begin eating a wider range of foods, it’s important to include some fruit and vegetables in their meals to give their growing bodies the nutrients they need.

Read more about introducing solid foods.

For more information:

5 A DAY (England)

Change4Life (Wales)

Enjoy Healthy Eating (Northern Ireland)


Dance And Social Development In Preschool Children | LIVESTRONG.COM

Dance And Social Development In Preschool Children | LIVESTRONG.COM.

Dance and Social Development in Preschool Children 

Sep 1, 2011 | By Claire Castella
Dance and Social Development in Preschool Children
Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

Social skills, such as empathy, sharing, taking turns and cooperating with others, are important attributes for the development of happy and successful relationships and lifelong learning in all subjects. Social relations affect children’s cognitive and emotional development, says Carol Seefeldt, author of “Early Education: Three-, Four- and Five-Year-Olds Go to School.” Young children typically respond with energy and enthusiasm to dance, music and movement sessions. Cross-curricular links that incorporate social development learning objectives into planned dance activities nurture children’s creativity and physical skills, while encouraging self-awareness and awareness of others.

Get Moving 

Young children, such as preschool kids, learn easily through enjoyable activities that encourage hands-on learning, or full physical involvement. Dance sessions require mental concentration and active participation. Dance and movement activities help children become more aware of their bodies and learn gross motor skills of coordination and control. Increased self-awareness and improved physical skills promote confidence and a raised sense of self-esteem. These attributes are “critically important to future success in school and in life,” says Susan Jindrich of the Global Development Research Center. Confident children participate fully in classroom activities, learn to solve conflicts by using words and accept that making mistakes is part of the learning process, says Jindrich.


Find a Space 

Spatial awareness skills are essential for successful social encounters. Preschool children are typically egocentric and tend to invade the space of others without regard for social niceties. Lack of spatial awareness can lead to social conflict when children start playing together in relatively confined spaces such as classrooms. For example, a child who is spatially unaware may inadvertently knock other children over as he moves around the classroom or playground, and may experience social isolation when other children subsequently try to avoid him. Dance activities help children develop spatial awareness skills. For instance, practitioners may begin movement activities with the instruction that children find a suitable space in the room by holding out their arms to the side to ensure they are not touching anyone.

Copy Me 

Music and movement games such as copy me activities encourage children to copy movements and gestures of the session leader and of each other, which supports development of social awareness skills, like spatial awareness and awareness of body language cues. Children begin to acquire social confidence by taking turns to lead others. Children become the leader who responds to the music by creating spontaneous movements and by using props such as scarves.Dance practitioners may also develop skills of miming of body language and facial expressions to suggest emotions, such as shyness, sadness and joy, to help children develop empathy toward others.

Play Stages 

Children’s play typically develops through stages of “playing alone, playing near others but not with them, playing with others but not sharing, playing and sharing, playing with a purpose and organized games,” says Jindrich. Music and movement games and dance activities support progression through these stages by enabling children to learn social skills such as taking turns and cooperating with others. Circle dances and movement games help children learn skills of cooperation and sharing. For example, The Farmer’s in His Den is a movement game where children cooperate in choosing others to share the space inside a circle of children, who hold hands and walk or skip in the same direction.

Article reviewed by Jay Lawrence Last updated on: Sep 1, 2011


Importance Of Music & Movement In The Education Of Young Children | LIVESTRONG.COM

Importance Of Music & Movement In The Education Of Young Children | LIVESTRONG.COM.

Importance of Music & Movement in the Education of Young Children 

Sep 1, 2011 | By Meg Brannagan
Importance of Music & Movement in the Education of Young Children
Photo Credit Images

Many people, when considering early childhood education, think about important concepts to learn, such as the alphabet, counting and shapes.Additionally, many parents want their children to experience some social interaction while learning ideas that will prepare them for school. Although music and dance is often considered an optional component of an educational program, incorporating music and movement into early childhood education can have may benefits, such as development, social interaction and language growth.

Early Childhood 

Early childhood education is the beginning of instruction for children at home or in the preschool years. This is an important time of learning and brain development for children in preparation for going to school. According to the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, 85 percent of brain development occurs by the time a child reaches 3 years. Playing music and moving to a beat provides stimulating experiences for young children and fosters learning at home or in the classroom. Parents and early childhood teachers can incorporate music and movement into daily routines.


Brain Development 

As children grow, they need to learn specific activities that are important for development. For example, very young children begin to scoot and crawl for movement and while these activities are part of eventually learning to walk, they are also essential for brain development. Additionally, patterned activities at home or in the preschool classroom, such as clapping to music or jumping in time to a beat stimulate brain function and help the brain to organize thoughts and behaviors.


Language has its own tempo; speaking a language fluently involves regular pauses, stops and starts in appropriate places. For example, most people do not speak in a constant, running diatribe of words; rather they insert pauses between phrases, they use accents and they increase or decrease the overall speed of speech. Music has a tempo and teaching young children songs that have rhythms and beats or learning to march in time to a tune can help students to learn the rhythm of speaking.


Several different types of music and movement activities can be incorporated into early childhood education. Teaching songs, such as the “ABCs” or “If You’re Happy and You Know It” while clapping or tapping along can teach rhythm and cadence while learning new words. Songs that involve action and hand gestures that follow the music teach children not only the meaning of some new words, but also to move and sing at the same time. Other types of activities for use in the classroom could be dancing with streamers or scarves, playing small musical instruments, singing songs in rounds, singing while cleaning up, marching to the beat or imitating animals.

Article reviewed by Jessica Lyons Last updated on: Sep 1, 2011