Parents might think it’s an impossible task, but researchers at the University of Leeds have found that you can teach children to like vegetables
And it doesn't involve resorting to the measures of the sneaky dad:
The secret to getting your kids to eat their greens is to start early and never give up. In a new study by scientists at the University of Leeds, 332 children, aged between four and 38 months were "exposed to a novel vegetable", which is science’s way of saying "we tried to feed them some artichoke".
By the end of the study, one in five of the children had cleared their plates and two in five had learned to like artichoke. The younger the children were, the more likely they would be to finish their food.
The researchers noted a significant drop in enthusiasm to try new things at 24 months, which will be no surprise to parents who've been through the 'terrible twos', when children start to discover their own free will and a deep enthusiasm to use it.
Even though the artichoke came in a basic and a sweetened flavour, researchers found masking the taste didn't result in any significant improvement in willingness to eat it. So it seems that dipping those carrots in chocolate isn't going to do any good.
Lead researcher Marion Hetherington summed up the study by saying: "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 5-10 exposures will do the trick."
Five to ten try outs, that's do-able, right? Here's some kid-friendly healthy recipe ideas we hope might make things a bit easier.