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Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

Offer vegetables early and often to fussy toddlers, study says

Do not give up on introducing new vegetables, researchers say

Children can learn to eat new vegetables if they are introduced regularly before the age of two, suggests a University of Leeds study.

Even fussy eaters can be encouraged to eat more greens if they are offered them five to 10 times, it found.

The research team gave artichoke puree to 332 children aged between four and 38 months from the UK, France and Denmark.

One in five cleared their plates while 40% learned to like artichoke.

The study also dispelled the popular myth that vegetable tastes need to be masked in order for children to eat them.

During the study, each child was given between five and 10 servings of at least 100g of artichoke puree.

The puree was either served straight, or sweetened with added sugar, or vegetable oil was mixed into the puree to add energy.

The researchers found there was little difference in the amount eaten over time between those who were fed the basic puree and those who had the sweetened one, suggesting that making vegetables sweeter does not encourage children to eat more.

Overall, they did find that younger children ate more artichoke than older children in the study.

Pureed artichoke was fed several times to each child in the study

Prof Marion Hetherington, study author from the Institute of Psychological Sciences at Leeds, said this was because children become picky and wary at a certain age.

“If they are under two they will eat new vegetables because they tend to be willing and open to new experiences.

“After 24 months, children become reluctant to try new things and start to reject foods – even those they previously liked.”

Most children in the study were found to be “learners” (40%), who ate more artichoke over time.

If you want to encourage your children to eat vegetables, make sure you start early and often”

Prof Hetherington

Twenty-one per cent consumed more than three-quarters of their serving each time and were labelled “plate-clearers”.

“Non-eaters” made up 16% of the children because they ate less than 10g even when it was offered for a fifth time, while the rest did not conform to any one group.

Prof Hetherington said her research, which is published in the journal PLOS ONE and funded by the EU, offered some valuable guidance to parents who want to encourage healthy diets in their children.

“If you want to encourage your children to eat vegetables, make sure you start early and often.

“Even if your child is fussy or does not like veggies, our study shows that five to 10 exposures will do the trick.”

Globe artichoke was chosen as the vegetable in the study because parents said it was one of the vegetables they were least likely to cook.

NHS guidelines are to start weaning children on to solid foods at six months.

via BBC News – Offer vegetables early and often to fussy toddlers, study says.

How to get your kids to eat more veggies

A new Stanford University study finds that teaching kids about nutrition boosts their desire to eat more vegetables.

WHAT’S the best way to get your kid to eat more vegetables? Smother the broccoli in sauce, cut cucumbers into fun shapes, or ban dessert until they’ve eaten their spinach?

A new study reveals what could be the best approach – simply teach them about nutrition.

Scientists from Stanford University in the US have found that even very young children can benefit from a conceptual framework that encourages them to understand why eating a variety of foods is healthy, the researchers said. The result: kids eat more vegetables by choice.

“Children have natural curiosity – they want to understand why and how things work,” the researchers explained. “Of course we need to simplify materials for young children, but oversimplification robs children of the opportunity to learn and advance their thinking.”

Researchers Sarah Gripshover and Ellen Markman developed five storybooks aimed at revising what children already know about various nutrition-related themes, such as dietary variety, digestion, food groups, and nutrients.

In a study involving more than 160 children between the ages of four and five, the researchers assigned some preschool classrooms to read nutrition books during snack time for about three months, while other classrooms were assigned to conduct snack time as usual. Later, the children were asked questions about nutrition.

Findings showed that the children who had been read the nutrition books were more likely to understand that food had nutrients, and that different kinds of nutrients were important for various bodily functions (even functions that weren’t mentioned in the books), the researchers said. They were also more knowledgeable about digestive processes, understanding, for example, that the stomach breaks down food and blood carries nutrients.

These children also more than doubled their voluntary intake of vegetables during snack time after the three-month intervention, whereas the amount that the control group ate stayed about the same.

Further research is needed to determine whether the conceptual intervention encourages healthy eating habits outside of snack time and whether it’s effective over the long-term, the researchers said.

The study, announced July 1, appears online in the journal Psychological Science.

A separate 2010 conducted by researchers from Penn State in the US found that increasing the amount of vegetables in the first course of preschool lunch could be a clever way to get children to eat more vegetables. – AFP Relaxnews

via How to get your kids to eat more veggies – Nutrition | The Star Online.

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