Shhh...don't tell the kids their veggies are healthy

Study shows children will eat more fruits, vegetables if they don't know benefits


Telling your children to eat their vegetables because they're good for them, may not be the way to go. A new study finds kids might be more inclined to eat fruits and veggies if you keep the health benefits quiet.

"So, it's an interesting take for parents to try these days. So, the way they're looking at it is to offer some of these healthier-type foods, but don't advertise them as being healthy," explained Cleveland Clinic Children's Registered Dietitian Jennifer Willoughby.

The study was done by Northwestern University researchers and researchers from the University of Chicago. They studied five groups of children ages 3 to 5.

Each of the children read a picture book story about a girl who ate a snack of crackers and carrots. Sometimes the health benefits were explained, but in some versions of the story, the benefits were not mentioned.

Results show the children typically ate more of their snack if the story they read did not explain the benefits of eating the crackers and carrots. Researchers think a study like this could lead to a different approach when it comes to marketing fruits and vegetables to kids. Willoughby thinks parents may want to consider the results, too.

"Make it into a little game," she suggested. "The broccolis are little trees that the dinosaurs are coming to get. The asparagus is a sword that they need to eat up really quick. Make it fun for them. When they're younger, that just may work."

Willoughby says starting a healthy eating habit earlier with your child, improves the chances that it will last a lifetime.