What is the Food Dudes Programme
Food Dudes is a programme developed by the University of Wales, Bangor, to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables both in school and at home. It is based on positive role models (the Food Dudes characters), repeated tasting and rewards. It is ultimately designed to enable children to enjoy eating healthy diets, and to create a healthy eating culture within schools.
Who are the Food Dudes?
The Food Dudes are four young super-heroes: Charlie, Tom, Raz and Rocco. By eating their favourite fruit or vegetables, the Food Dudes gain special powers which enable them to save the world and the Life Force from a gang of baddies: The Junk Punks. General Junk and his side-kicks, Miss Demeanour and Master Disaster, are trying to drain the energy of the world by depriving it of nutritious fruit and veg. With their special powers, given to them by carrots, tomatoes, raspberries and broccoli, the Food Dudes feed the Life Force and foil the Junk Punks.
There are two main phases to the Programme:
Phase 1 is an intensive intervention which lasts 16 days. During this time, children in the junior classes were given fruit and vegetables while they were read a letter and/or watched a specially designed DVD of the Food Dudes. These super-heroes save the life force from a gang of baddies whose objective is to take away the energy of the world by depriving it of nutritious fruit and veg. Each day the children were rewarded with stickers or small rewards and get a tick on the classroom wall chart for successfully eating the fruit and veg. This phase is primarily school based, although children keep a diary of fruit and veg they have eaten at home. The senior classes take part in 4 tasting days during phase 1, also get read a letter and/or watch a DVD episode and are rewarded with 4 rewards.
We are currently working on Phase 2 . This aspect extends the home element of the Food Dudes programme by encouraging the children to bring their own fruit and veg to school every day in special Food Dudes containers Classroom wall charts continue to be used for the junior classes and are introduced to the senior classes to record progress and children receive Food Dudes certificates upon reaching goals. We hope this phase maintains fruit and veg consumption in the longer term.
We are learning about the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption-
Why should we bother with our 5 a day rule?
Fruit and vegetables :
- Are an important group of foods for health. They can help prevent certain diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.
- Contain fibre as well as a whole range of beneficial vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, the B vitamins, potassium and magnesium.
- Dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli contain folate and vitamin E, while orange and red vegetables provide carotenes, a form of vitamin A.
- Also provide a wide variety of other substances called phytochemicals, flavonoids and phytonutrients which are thought to be protective.
- Fruit is fairly low in calories and contains no fat, and is a great choice for a snack between meals.
To get all the goodness you can from fruit and vegetables choose a wide variety of colours and aim for 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables every day.