Average Child in UK Has Only 5 Meal Types

New research from vouchercloud.com has found that most UK children are not eating a diet full of variety, but instead are only eating one of five different meal types. Children under ten tend to only eat these five meals and only 19% of children have vegetables with their dinner. The money savings brand contends that this is a real issue when combating obesity and health issues in children.

The study was conducted by www.vouchercloud.com as part of research into the food buying habits of parents across the UK, focussing specifically on product choice and grocery spend. 1,912 parents with children aged 10 or under took part.

Those taking part were asked, “How many evening meal types/ dishes does your child regularly eat?” defined as the specific meals that their child would happily eat on a regular basis. According to the results, the average child under 10 in the UK regularly eats just ‘5.3’ meal types.

When asked to elaborate on what specific meals their child ate on a most regular basis, the top five results amongst respondents were revealed to be as follows:

1)      Spaghetti bolognese- 43%

2)      Sausage and chips- 40%

3)      Roast dinner- 37%

4)      Sausage and mash- 35%

5)      Fish fingers and chips- 35%

When asked if they considered their child’s regular meal diet as ‘limited’, three fifths, 61%, of respondents said ‘yes’. However, just 23% of the parents taking part claimed that they had attempted to ‘broaden’ their child’s eating preferences. 82% classified their children as ‘fussy eaters.’

When asked, “Does your child eat vegetables with every evening meal?” just a fifth, 19%, of the parents taking part said ‘yes’. When those who answered ‘no’ were asked why this was the case, the majority, 55%, explained that their child ‘simply won’t eat vegetables’, whilst 37% also said that they ‘don’t see vegetables as necessary with every meal.’

When asked whether or not meal times ever resulted in arguments with their children, three quarters, 74%, of respondents said ‘yes’. Of these, 53% explained that this usually revolved around ‘refusal to eat elements of the meal.’

Matthew Wood of vouchercloud.com commented on the findings:

“Children can be notoriously difficult when it comes to meal times, and it’s a struggle that I think most parents across the nation would sympathise with. It was surprising to see just how few meals the average child eats, but seeing that so few parents have attempted to broaden their child’s eating habits explains a lot. Whilst there’s no magic cure for fussy eating, introducing new foods slowly and in small portions can help to ease the struggle; if not, the hands of time will likely do the trick!”