Making Healthful Choices – The Science Behind Getting Your Picky Eaters to Eat More Veggies
As a parent or caretaker, getting children to eat their vegetables can be one of the most challenging tasks in the world. Picky eaters can make mealtimes very stressful, and it can be challenging to figure out ways to get them to eat more veggies. The key is to use proven scientific methods to make nutritious foods more attractive to them, so they’ll eat more and avoid nutrient deficiencies.
Research shows that repeated exposure is one of the most effective methods for getting children to eat healthful foods regularly. The more they see and interact with a particular vegetable, the more likely they are to eat it. Studies indicate that if children are served a vegetable in a positive and non-threatening way, they are likely to eat it within 10 to 15 times. Therefore, it’s essential to introduce vegetables to children from an early age and to incorporate them into meals in various ways.
Another useful tactic is to involve children in the process of preparing and cooking the vegetables they’re eating. This strategy helps children feel invested in the food and gives them a sense of pride and ownership in the outcome, leading to greater acceptance of the finished product. Plus, letting kids cook makes them more interested in eating healthily, as they can see the positive benefits of the food they are preparing.
Parents can also make mealtimes more positive by setting an example. If parents themselves enjoy eating vegetables and other nutritious foods, children are more likely to follow suit. Creating a positive food environment is key to getting picky eaters to try new things. When children see their parents or caregivers enjoying healthful foods, they are more likely to want to do the same.
Finally, presentation matters. Studies show that children are more likely to eat brightly colored vegetables, especially those that are cut into fun shapes or served in exciting ways. Parents can try serving roasted vegetables with fun and kid-friendly dip sauces or serving a bright vegetable puree with their favorite pasta or pizza.
In conclusion, parents and caretakers can use several proven scientific methods to get children to eat more vegetables. Repeated exposure, getting them involved in preparing veggies, setting an example, and making mealtimes more enjoyable and fun through colorful presentation are all effective strategies. Ultimately, the key is to create a positive food environment that encourages healthy eating habits and provides children with choices so they can make healthful choices.