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Revealed: 86% of UK children under 5 do NOT get five a day

Almost half (48%) % of parents claim their children are “fussy” eaters. Nutritionist approved ‘foods to try before you’re five’ list revealed.


According to research released today, a huge 86% of children under five aren’t getting their five a day due to ‘fussy eating’ at mealtimes.

The survey, of 2000 parents, carried out by pioneering baby food brand For Aisha, found that a whopping 86% of children don’t manage to get their recommended five a day despite their parents' best efforts and the fact that a quarter (23%) actually enjoy trying something they haven’t had before.

It was also found that over a third (34%) of UK parents habitually feed their child “English” food, with a massive 83% of children’s diets lacking in “exotic” flavours and spices. For Aisha, the UK’s leading halal baby food brand, carried out the study to celebrate the launch of the company’s nutritionist approved list of ‘foods to try before you’re 5’. The list is the definitive guide to foods young children should be exposed to, to combat fussiness and make sure they’re enjoying lots of nutrient-rich meals.

The top 20 foods are:

- Tomatoes
- Chickpeas
- Ginger
- Coconut
- Turmeric
- Cinnamon
- Butternut Squash
- Paprika
- Parsnip
- Coriander
- Dates
- Lentils
- Mint
- Mango
- Sweetcorn
- Garlic
- Sweet Potato
- Onions
- Apricot
- Cumin

Using the list, For Aisha is spearheading a campaign to encourage parents to ensure their children are trying different flavours and ingredients from an early age. For Aisha's dietitian, Priya Tew, said:

“Having a child who is fussy with their eating can bring so much stress into mealtimes. Feeding your little one can feel like a huge responsibility; they grow quickly, so it’s important that their diet provides them with all the nutrients they need.”

The study also found:

  • 80% of children eat mostly “bland” food ‘
  • Over a fifth (22%) of parents have struggled with the weaning process
  • A huge 79% of people claim their child is “not easy” to feed

Priya adds:

“Keep offering the foods that children are not eating - exposure really is key, especially with spicier foods that children won’t be as used to. Put small amounts of some of those foods onto their plate at each mealtime. This will encourage your little one to touch, smell, see, and eventually taste the foods. Starting with savoury meals and a vegetable first approach can help build healthy eating habits, it’s vital that little ones gain maximum nutrition and flavour from every tiny mouthful, and that we encourage them to embrace, explore and taste new flavours.”

In addition to fussiness, it seems that mealtimes can be a struggle for both parents and children as one in five admit that their child is difficult during mealtimes with many even crying and screaming. Further to this, three in ten UK parents have even cried themselves during stressful mealtimes, and over a quarter (27%) have argued with their partners over their child’s diet.

As a result of these stressful mealtimes, the survey also revealed that a shocking third (34%) of parents let their child eat whatever they want, including food low in nutrients and takeaways. It also seems that parents are passing their somewhat fussy eating habits down to their children.

A quarter of parents admit that they usually only eat meals they are already familiar with rather than branching out and trying something new.

By creating recipes that introduce infants to a variety of exotic nutritional ingredients earlier in life- before negative food habits set in- For Aisha’s goal is change these statistics and give parents the confidence to feed their children new and exciting ingredients that they’ll enjoy- and even want more of! Find them in most major UK retailers now and encourage your little ones to explore a world of variety, embrace exciting cultural foods, and taste everything the world has to offer.