Parents told not to reward children for eating greens

“All parents know how difficult it is to get children to eat their greens, with many offering rewards or treats in return for children finishing their vegetables,” said Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium. They claim, however, the best way to get children to eat healthily is to simply give them repeated exposure to the food.

A study of 154 children showed that just over 95 percent would eat a vegetable they initially did not like after just four weeks of being given it.

Daynurseries.co.uk talks about an experiment where researchers studied the children’s eating habits on 10 vegetables: fennel, chicory, beetroot, courgettes, mushrooms, peas, leek, Brussels sprouts, spinach and cauliflower (with chicory as the least liked vegetable).

Children were split into three groups: one group was asked to try the bowl of chicory repeatedly without encouragement, the other two groups were given rewards of stickers, a toy or verbal praise.

After the trial, 81 percent of children who tried the chicory repeatedly seemed to now like it, compared to 68 percent given a toy or sticker and 75 percent given verbal praise. "These results highlight that repeated exposure remains the best way to establish a liking of a food.”


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