Leading article: Forbidden fruit

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The Independent Online

It was not so long ago that children were told simply to eat up their greens along with their meat and gravy. Not any longer. Now it's sun-dried tomatoes, figs, oily fish and all the other things that make up a Mediterranean diet. It's good for them, you see, and much better for children than burgers, which apparently make them wheeze.

Fine for the adults. And fine in the Mediterranean, when the sun shines, there's a bottle of the local vino at hand and plenty of fruit in the bowl. But back in Britain, under grey skies, the wind cold and the rain drizzling down? As for the idea of telling children that Mediterranean food is good for them, only a research team of academics could come up with that one. No wonder children, like adults, turn to burgers and the comforts of something solid and filling.

We're all for a healthy diet. We're all for the trend towards vegetarianism. But think of the carbon footprint of flying in the Mediterranean fare and the effect on the seas of encouraging everyone to eat fish. If you really want children to eat nutritious food, tell them it's forbidden. And if you really want them to eat like an Italian or a Spaniard, send them out there for a free holiday. It might save the NHS some money.