The problem of generations: how to teach a child to vegetables

In many families, the problem of children’s food intake turns into a real battle of generations. The child refuses when they give him spinach or broccoli, rolls up scenes in supermarkets, asking him to buy lollipops, chocolate, ice cream. Such products are addictive due to additives. It has now been scientifically proven that getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables is actually very easy.

The results of an Australian study showed that a child will be calm and happy to eat vegetables if a parent takes care of serving food. The Center for Deep Sensory Science at Deakin University tested its theory on a group of 72 preschool children. Each child taking part in the study was given a 500-gram container of peeled carrots one day and the same amount of already diced carrots the next day, but with the condition that they need to eat as many vegetables as they want in 10 minutes.

It turned out that the children were more willing to eat peeled carrots than chopped ones.

“In general, this means that children consumed 8 to 10% more whole vegetables than diced ones. It’s also easier for parents who can simply put a whole carrot or some other easily consumed vegetable or fruit in a food container,” said Dikan University Senior Lecturer Dr. Guy Liem.

This confirms previous research that stated that the more food you have on your plate, the more you want to eat at the time of your meal.

“Potentially, these results can be explained by a unit bias, in which a given unit creates a consumption rate that tells a person how much he should eat. In the case where the children consumed one whole carrot, that is, one unit, they assumed in advance that they would finish it,” Liem added.

Not only can this little discovery be used to get kids to eat more vegetables and fruits, but this “trick” can also be used in the opposite case, when parents want to wean children from eating unhealthy foods.

“For example, eating a chocolate bar in small pieces reduces the overall consumption of chocolate,” says Dr. Liem.

Thus, if you give your child sweets and their favorite unhealthy foods, cut into pieces or divided into small pieces, he will consume them less, because his brain cannot understand how much he is actually eating.

Previous research shows that children who eat vegetables at dinner are more likely to feel better the next day. Moreover, the progress of the child depends on dinner. Australian scientists studied the relationship between food and school performance and found that increasing vegetable consumption contributed to better school performance.

“The results give us an interesting insight into the role dietary foods play in generating new knowledge,” said study lead author Tracey Burroughs.

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