Study shows, serving diverse options of vegetables encourages children’s consumption of it

By Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue Staff Writer | Images Courtesy of Freepik

How many times as parents have we heard our kids go, “I don’t want to eat vegetables! They’re gross and they taste bad!” and pushes them away? If you have, then keep on reading!

Kids are fussy little eaters and they get even fussier when it comes to eating their greens. It can be a fairly challenging ordeal filled with frustration and discontent for both parents and their kids. And, it’s often understandable, kids have a sweet tooth and a knack for anything bright, colorful and sugary which is far more alluring than the boring and unpalatable appearance of cooked vegetables. 

Sometimes, we relent after the big fight with our picky little eaters and give into what they want which are their junk food and fast food. But, just often should we do it and how much is bad? 

“Most junk food and fast food are high in salt, fat content and most of them contain a lot of added sugar. A picky eater’s staple should still be a balanced diet with carbohydrate, protein and fat so they get everything they need to grow healthily,” says Hazyl Ho, Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu’s resident dietician.

The long-term effects of junk food in children are many according to Hazyl. “Some nutrition deficiency that affects their learning ability and concentration in schools, affecting growth development. And sometimes it can also cause obesity and diabetes.

But, parents… according to this study, there is a way to get your kids to eat and even increase their veggie consumption! 

Methods Conducted for the Research
 

Several 32 families were studied by a group of researchers. The children of the families were aged between four and six and reportedly had poor vegetable consumption. Before the beginning of the experiment, the families were asked to take an online survey and participate in an information session.

During the research, three groups were made. The first group consisted of children who were served a single vegetable. The second group was given multiple vegetables and the third group had no changes in their eating habits.

The course of the research was five weeks long supplemented with a three-month follow-up program.

The Results
 

After the research was completed, it was found that the group that was offered multiple vegetables showed a satisfactory response with a soaring consumption of .6 to 1.2 servings. Unfortunately for the other groups, there were no changes detected in their vegetable consumption.

Post-research, parents also noted that getting their kids to have vegetables was easier and many continued to follow choose methods that were introduced throughout the research.

Dr. Astrid A.M Poelman, lead author of the study added, “This pilot study showed that simultaneous exposure to a variety of vegetables may offer benefits in increasing the acceptance and intake of vegetables over single exposure techniques in young children (4–6 years). Reduced boredom might be a reason that exposure to a vegetable variety is more effective than exposure to a single vegetable.”

Last Messages from Hazyl
 

We ask Hazyl her advice as a dietician for parents who are battling with their kids to get them to eat some greens. “Sometimes you just have to be creative! Seek for dietitian’s advice and you will never go wrong!”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. At Parents Avenue, we strongly recommend all our readers to seek medical advise from your local hospital or clinic. Thank you. 

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