How to make kids eat more fruits and veggies

Encouraging healthy eating habits in kids

In a recent study conducted by Barbara Rolls and Helen A. Guthrie Chair and Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, it was found that on adding more fruits and vegetables to kids’ plates, it encouraged their eating habits while increasing the consumption of more veggies by 41 per cent and fruit by 38 per cent. (Image courtesy – istock Images)

02/5Experimenting with foods

“When deciding what to feed kids, it’s easy to remember that half of the food should be fruits and vegetables,” Rolls said. “If you start seeing that you’re serving too much and have more waste, you could cut back the higher calorie-dense food while adding more produce. Experiment and have some fun trying different fruits and vegetables to see what they like and so you can serve meals with a sensitivity to their taste.” According to a previous study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60 per cent of children don’t eat enough fruit, and 93 per cent don’t eat enough vegetables, suggesting a need for strategies to encourage kids to eat more produce.

Since 2011, the MyPlate dietary guidelines have encouraged people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables, with the hope that this would also increase people’s intake. But the researchers said that despite being a policy for a decade, the strategy had never been systematically tested in preschool children.READMORE

03/5What kids were served?

“We served the children all of their meals, snacks, and beverages for five consecutive days, and we weighed all the items we served, as well as the leftovers, to measure intake,” Roe said. “We sent home evening and morning snacks for the kids, but the majority of the meals were served in the childcare centre.” As a caution, Rolls said that even though the study was successful in getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, the majority of the kids still didn’t eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables for their age group — about a cup and a half – although they did reach this target for fruits.

The researchers said that in addition to the strategies in the current study, there are additional things parents and caregivers can do to increase intake.

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