Most parents know that their kids should eat lots of fresh vegetables to stay healthy, but that’s often easier said than done.
If you have a picky eater, you know mealtime can be a struggle.
According to one study, about one in five parents of 1-year-olds reported that their toddlers ate no vegetables at all on the days they were surveyed.
Now, scientists say they have a way to help kids eat more of the good stuff.
Researchers in Australia examined 32 families with children between ages 4 and 6 who didn’t eat a lot of fresh vegetables. They found that when the families offered the kids a small amount of multiple vegetables repeatedly, the children ate more vegetables.
In fact, they went from eating half a serving to more than a full serving.
But those who were offered a single vegetable repeatedly, such as broccoli at each meal, did not increase their vegetable consumption.
These findings suggest that parents should keep serving a variety of vegetables to their kids, even if they refuse to eat them.
Other ways to encourage healthy habits: use positive encouragement and do not force your child. They only need to taste a small amount in order to build up a liking over time.
Set a good example by eating veggies yourself.
And offer low-fat salad dressings and dips.
Authors of the study say while the amount of vegetables increased during the study, it still didn’t meet dietary guidelines. According to the USDA, children who are 4 to 8 years old should have 1½ to 2½ cups of veggies per day.