CHILDREN have cooked up a treat helping to create winning recipes for smoothies in a bid to inspire healthy eating.

Pupils from West Park Academy, in Darlington, took part in a healthy food initiative supported by a visiting chef from the Food Education Company, who works to promote good grub.

Chef John Perrett said: “Healthy eating is such a big topic these days and if we can help to educate children to make something interesting but healthy to eat at an early age it can make all the difference.

“We also try to make it exciting for them and colourful. The reaction from the children is amazing when they see how easy it is to make food which is healthy.”

Around 140 pupils were involved in watching and taking part in cooking demonstrations, using produce from the school garden to make tasty meals, such as vegetable cottage pie, potato salad, vegetable soup and spiced apple pudding.

Mr Perret also showed them how to make banana and strawberry smoothies using low fat yoghurt and no sugar.

Home school family coordinator and organiser, Jane Graham, said: “We invite the chef into school to cook for the children every year and we wanted to know what we could do with our own grown vegetables.

“The school council also decided they would like to run a healthy tuck shop and they wanted to learn what best to sell.”

Nine-year-old pupil, Jessica Martin, from Darlington, said: “I think it is really good what the chef has shown us as it has given me some ideas to take home for the family."