Food Detectives is a new initiative which aims to make the process of trying new, healthy foods into something exciting for young children. Once a week, for five weeks, 90 children have been taking home a different piece of fruit, along with fun, informative facts about it, such as where it’s grown and how, (introducing the idea of food miles), why it’s good for them and how much it costs. There are easy ideas on how to enjoy eating it. 

Food Detectives founder Kat Frere-Smith is a local health coach who is seeking to inspire kids, support parents and encourage everyone to enjoy more healthy foods. She has been piloting this project with primary school children at Silverdale Primary Academy, St Leonards-on-sea with funds from Hastings Lions Club. 

Kat explains: “Often children refuse to try new foods, and as parents we become reluctant to buy them or experiment with new ingredients.” This leads to just providing children with what they are familiar with and like. She is also aware of the problems caused by convenience foods, saying: “It’s easy to fall into a pattern of eating foods that don’t really nourish us or our children.”

But as a mother of two primary school-aged girls herself, Kat knows that kids like a sweet treat. This project gives them an opportunity to try new, healthier sweet foods. “I’m not expecting them to love all of the fruit,” she says, “it’s just about encouraging them to… be inquisitive about what they’re eating and how it’s benefiting their bodies.” 

Kat, who will be registering Food Detectives as a charity, hopes the project will have a big impact. Silverdale school principal Jonathan Morris commented on what a great opportunity the project was for his school, adding: “I’m looking forward to seeing what turns up in their lunchboxes from September onwards.”

Feedback from parents was also positive: 60% said their children were more likely to try new food, 63% said they learned something themselves and 100% said they would like the project to continue.

Food Detectives are hoping to roll out the project with other local schools in the near future, as well as offering other projects such as Cook School, Get Growing groups, school garden projects, allotment/school partnerships, nutrition workshops for parents and improving breakfast club offerings in local schools. 

For parents wishing their schools to get involved to support the project financially or who would like to get involved as volunteers, contact Kat at
[email protected] or visit the website www.fooddetectives.co.uk


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