Movie-making proved to be child’s play as public health officials try and make healthy eating easier for the community.

Darlington College’s media department was happy to step in when Public Health Darlington asked for help in making short videos with healthy messages.

In the first of a series, the videos show the sensory experiences of trying different types of fruits and vegetables.

Three-year-olds from the college’s nursery were recruited as actors to make a tuna and sweetcorn salad in a video designed to show that making a healthy packed lunch was child’s play.

Public Health Darlington has set a number of ‘nourish to thrive goals’ including a shared mission for children and young people to increase food familiarity by widening the taste experiences of healthy foods; increasing fibre intake by consuming more wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and healthy snack swaps; increasing five a day portions and the opportunity for moving for at least 60 minutes over the day.

Public Health lead for children and young people Kelly Rose said: “It can be so challenging for parents/carers to know which types of foods and how much to give their children. Parents also often feel like they are swimming against a powerful flood of unhealthy foods. We want to strive to ensure that families are supported and have easy access to nutrition tips and resources.”

Media lecturers Stephen Wade and Karl Oldridge shot and edited the footage which will be used as marketing tool by Public Health. Stephen said: “We were delighted to help, particularly as Kelly is so passionate about the issue, and the Childcare Centre did a great job finding us some excellent little actors.”

Kelly added: “It’s a great concept that it is child’s play making and enjoying a healthy lunch. Childhood obesity impacts on children’s ability to perform well, can cause poor immunity, physical and mental health. Shifting towards making healthy choices easier will support our families to flourish.”

Public Health’s aim is that every single child in Darlington will be able to attend an early years setting and have access to healthy meals and snacks which meet national guidelines and have sensory experiences as part of the curriculum.

“Starting early with tasting, smelling and touching a range of fruits and vegetables in a relaxed way can have a huge impact on children’s willingness to try new foods as they grow,” Kelly said.

“By increasing healthy weight and providing nutrient packed foods, we provide the opportunity for our children and young people to perform well in school, to thrive and to have a more positive future.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.