With so much information and advice available, new research shows that British parents are understandably unsure of exactly what makes up a healthy diet and lifestyle for their kids. Most are confident their children already get a good diet, but strikingly 30 per cent reported their kids don’t get enough variety in their diet, 29 per cent admitted their children are not active enough and more than one in ten (11 per cent) believe their kids don’t get enough dairy.

Rhiannon Lambert, Jelly the cow and Jonny, Arla farmer

Rhiannon Lambert, Jelly the cow and Jonny, Arla farmer

Parents’ gaps in understanding when it comes to what the whole family needs to achieve a nutritious and balanced diet have been revealed by new insights from dairy cooperative, Arla. Some of the results were surprising and revealed that while schools lead the charge in educating children about nutrition (46 per cent), there is a huge opportunity for kids to learn through family time and discussions with 31 per cent teaching their kids about nourishing their bodies in this way. 

To help tackle the issues around nutrition education, one Arla farmer, Jonny Burridge and his cow Jelly, are on a mission to help parents and children understand what happens on a farm, where food and drink comes from and what makes it nutritious. Launching their first book last year to share sustainable farm experiences with families, they’re back today, joining forces with registered nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert, with their second book which focuses on nutrition and educating the whole family on a well-balanced diet.

81 per cent of respondents surveyed by Arla didn’t know how much calcium their kids need each day, while few were aware that milk is a good source of protein, vitamin b12, potassium, phosphorus or iodine (37, 28, 15, 9 and 5 per cent respectively).  According to the research, it’s not so much a lack of impetus that’s hampering our kids’ diets, more a lack of understanding of nutrition and which foods include which nutrients and how much we really need to ensure we’re getting the right amounts. 

Jonny and Jelly’s new book takes families on a farmyard journey of discovery to uncover why we all need a healthy and balanced diet, including the cows that make our milk, with a look at Jelly’s own special breakfast combination. Loaded with information about why nutrition is so important, kids are immersed into Jelly’s inquisitive nature as they discover more. The book even features handy information including exactly what’s in a glass of milk, coupled with fun family friendly recipes to try at home.

Jonny, alongside over 2,300 other UK Arla farmer owners, are backing the need to help parents teach their kids from a young age about how important a nutritionally complete diet, alongside an active lifestyle is. Hoping to spark solid choices as they grow, the vision is to help futureproof the health of the next generation.

Danny Micklethwaite, Spokesperson for Arla explains: “Of the parents we surveyed, one in ten (11 per cent) said they didn’t know where to find information about children’s optimum nutrition, and they don’t trust any particular sources to educate them. This is something we feel we have a responsibility to help change. Arla is owned by over 2,300 farmers - all as passionate as Jonny about helping kids gain a good understanding of how their food gets in front of them and what it contains to help them fuel their bodies.”

Arla’s research—paired with data from Google — has proven that understanding dairy and its nutritional values is top of mind. With search terms like ‘health benefits of dairy’ increasing, there is a clear appetite for information around the role of dairy in people’s diets. Kid’s really care, too, with 89% agreeing a balanced diet is important, while a bold one in 10 even claim to know more about healthy food than their parents.

Rhiannon Lambert, Registered Nutritionist and Spokesperson for Arla added: I am thrilled to be working with Jonny and of course, Jelly, on their quest to help children and their families learn more about nutrition and what’s in their food. There’s a lot of information out there and it can be hard for parents to know what they can trust, but I share the belief if we start to educate kids while they’re young, we’re helping to set them up to make the best possible choices as they grow up. We know books are a fantastic and engaging learning tool for kids, so I’m really pleased to be a part of this project.”

89 per cent of 6–11-year-old children agreed that they’re happier, friendlier or find it easier to concentrate when they’ve had a good breakfast. This underlines Arla’s on-going commitment to charity partner, Magic Breakfast, to support their work in ensuring no child is too hungry to learn by providing hundreds of thousands of Arla Cravendale milk vouchers. This has formed part of the charity’s “at home” food provision so that schoolchildren still had access to nutritional food during school closures, as well as creating fun, educational resources for the charity’s partner schools focusing on the nutritional benefits of dairy.

Arla farmer, Jonny Burridge commented: “What an honour for Jelly and me to be involved in a second book, this time to help children and their families understand nutrition. Jelly is of course the star of the show and has helped to immerse kids in farming and the wonderful outdoors throughout her life. She’s actually met over 50,000 children in her lifetime, and made numerous visits to local schools, shows and events. I personally think of milk as one of nature’s nectars but, of course, I am biased! But I do know that dairy can play a really important role in a healthy and balanced diet and I really hope this book helps more children to learn about it.”

The new free book, Jonny and Jelly Go from Strength to Strength is available to download now from the Arla website while an audio version is also launched on Spotify today and aims to get kids and parents alike thinking about how important it is to fuel our bodies for the day ahead, whether that’s at school, work or for a day of fun activities. To find out more, or download the book, visit www.arlafoods.co.uk/forward-thinking-dairy/jonny-and-jelly-go-from-strength-to-strength/.


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