• Email
  • Email
  • Physician Schedules
  • APPS
  • Health Source
FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM PINTEREST
|

A new strategy for picky eaters: the truth!

Toni-Ann DiSantis

A new strategy for picky eaters: the truth!

If you have young children, you know that getting them to eat their vegetables, beans, fish, and other nutritious foods can feel a bit like a high-stakes negotiation with a hostile power. Earlier studies have shown that offering new foods repeatedly ups the odds that kids will try it, and new research adds a twist. Compared with simply offering a nutritious food, telling children how certain foods would benefit them in kid-friendly terms was much more effective. In the study, kids were twice as likely to start eating foods like peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, and lentils when the researchers said things like “eating your lentils will help you grow big and run fast!” The results weren’t immediate, but after a month of using this strategy a couple times a week, many of the kids started eating foods they had previously rejected. With young kids, stick with benefits they’re likely to understand rather than the long-term health benefits. Reducing risk of heart-disease later in life won’t mean much to a 4-year-old, but jumping high, growing tall, or reading books will. Experiment with flavor and cooking methods, too. Roasted cauliflower may be a lot more appealing than steamed cauliflower, for instance. And while kids going through certain stages may be sticklers for plain foods, using spices, herbs, garlic, and onion judiciously can help enhance a food’s appeal.