A neat way to get kids to eat their veggies, recommended by nutrition scientists
Mums, if you are agonising over ways to get your child to eat his veggies, then we think this article will interest you!
Many parents around the world share one common problem — getting their kids to eat all their vegetables.
But now, according to a Daily Mail report, nutrition scientists have come up with a simple, yet reportedly effective way of solving this problem.
Just serve the greens along with something less exciting, rather than serving the veggies with a firm favourite — apparently, it’s as simple as that.
The study and its findings
Dr Ariun Ishdorj, a food consumption expert at Texas A&M University wrote in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences about the study.
She and other researchers of the study said the findings, which were first published in The Washington Post could be especially useful for schools when it comes to planning meals for students.
And of course, mums can certainly incorporate these findings into their daily meal routines at home, too.
Here’s what the researchers did.
They took a look at the leftovers on the plates of over 8,000 US elementary school kids. They noted that when, for example, green beans were served with chicken nuggets (the latter being the most popular entrée), most of the beans were left untouched.
But when the same beans were paired with a less popular main course than chicken nuggets, such as steak fingers, then more of the vegetables were consumed.
They noticed the same trend with steamed brocolli — when the greens were served with a BBQ bun, “the children ate two thirds of the vegetables on their plates compared to when it was served with a deli wrap, when just 14 per cent of the greens were eaten.”
It’s all about food pairing – or is it?
The findings of this study strongly suggest that school meal planners and of course mums, should put more thought into what they are pairing their kids’ vegetables with.
However, other researchers such as Traci Mann, who teaches psychology at the University of Minnesota and has been studying topics in the area of nutrition for over two decades, presents yet another strategy called “get alone with a vegetable.”
In a Washington Post report, she describes her strategy:
Normally, vegetables will lose the competition that they’re in — the competition with all the other delicious food on your plate. Vegetables might not lose that battle for everyone, but they do for most of us.
This strategy puts vegetables in a competition they can win, by pitting vegetables against no food at all. To do that, you just eat your vegetable first, before any of the other food is there. Eat them before other food is on your plate, or even at your table. And that way, you get them when you’re hungriest and unable to pick something else instead.
Could this technique work with kids too? You’ll have to try it, along with the food pairing method and let us know!
But if you want to avoid raising a picky eater altogether, some swear by using baby-led weaning techniques.
You can read this theAsianparent article to learn more about baby-led weaning.
Parents, does your child eat his or her veggies? If you have a no-fuss-with-veg child, do tell us about your magic techniques in a comment below.