Getting children to eat enough vegetables is notoriously difficult for parents.
Can we blame kids for being fussy? Most kids wouldn’t gain a pound even if they drank 5 milkshakes a day so why on earth would they eat broccoli, I mean, miniature trees.
Now, a new scientific study led by Australian researchers reveals the most and least successful parental strategies for ensuring that youngsters receive their five-a-day.
My mum’s strategy to get me to eat vegetables was to let me douse everything in tomato sauce. I imagine some families had to use ketchup instead because they had kids so fussy they wouldn’t even eat the sauce with a tomato on the label.
“Yuck Mum I’m not eating that fruit sauce!”
The researchers looked at 80 studies from the health industry that identified fussy eating in children under the age of ten, most of which were based on parental reports and recall.
It’s for the best it was based on the parents’ recounts and not the children’s or we’d be reading an article titled ‘Study finds there is no such thing as picky eaters and peas are gross’.
The study, which was, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast the University of South Australia, and the University of Queensland found a number of interesting results.
They discovered that having a more relaxed parenting style, dining as a family, and involving a child in the food preparation all lowered the likelihood of fussy eating.
On the other hand, forcing a child to eat, strict parenting, and providing bribes or rewards for eating, such as the compensation to watch television, all made children pickier eaters.
The study did not disclose whether food being delivered by fork-airplane hindered or helped veggie consumption.
Kid’s today must have much keener eyes than the ones I had when I was young. Mum could grate a carrot or zucchini into mince and I apparently had no idea.
She told me I’d smugly sit there shoveling spaghetti bolognaise into my gob assuming I’d defeated her with my 5-year-old arguments (screaming nonsensical sounds) the meal before.
The researchers have shared some of their best advice for parents of picky eaters:
Setting up regular mealtimes Involving kids in food preparation Avoiding using prizes or rewards Avoid bribes or punishments
They also emphasize the necessity of turning off the television and removing any screens from the dinner table, including phones.
Or you could just do what scientists at Penn State University discovered and double the amount of veggies on your kid’s plate. The researches found that doubling the amount of vegetables resulted in children eating 68 per cent more greens.
Turns out if then if you say, “please just eat at least half” they won’t have a clue they’ve gotten their full serve of veggies and their full serve of trickery.
Main Image: Getty