Fruit and vegetables are a good source of the nutrients that children need and form part of a healthy, balanced diet.
It's recommended that children – like adults – eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. But research shows that on average children in England eat only about three portions, with many eating fewer.
For handy tips on how to get more fruit and veg into your children's diet, read 5 A Day and your family.
The SFVS and your child
If your child is aged four to six and attends a fully state-funded infant, primary or special school in England, they are entitled to receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day.
That provides one of their 5 A Day portions, and the scheme also helps to increase awareness of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables, encouraging healthy eating habits that can be carried into later life.
Teachers find that distributing the fruit in class groups helps to encourage a sharing, calm, social time. It also allows them to incorporate the scheme into teaching and learning.
SFVS and the school day
The fruit and vegetables are delivered to schools three times a week to ensure freshness. Depending on the season, there is a choice of:
- easy-peel citrus fruits, such as satsumas
Some schools also offer strawberries when they are in season.
All the fruit and vegetables are washed before they are handed out, which is usually just before the mid-morning break, normally in individual class groups.
They are not handed out at lunchtime – this ensures that the fruit and vegetables supplied are not simply replacing the fruit and vegetables that might have been eaten at lunchtime anyway.
Other school food
Apart from the SFVS, your child has other opportunities through the school day to add to their 5 A Day total.
Lunches provided by all schools must include at least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables or salad for each pupil, every school day.
Schools are encouraged to adopt lunch menus that highlight in-season fruit and vegetables to pupils as part of their food education.
Fruit and vegetables must be provided at all school food outlets, including at breakfast clubs, tuck shops at mid-morning break and lunch, and in vending machines.
Find out more about healthy eating at school
If your child is aged four to six, you can talk to their teacher to see if they are currently receiving a free piece of fruit or vegetable each day.
Schools and parents can download this factfile on the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (PDF, 501kb).
You can learn more about school food at the Children's Food Trust website.