(Natural News) Getting kids to eat healthy is a struggle every parent faces at some point. Whether its an aversion to broccoli or shying away from grilled salmon, children are often reluctant to try new foods — especially if they think it’s going to be “healthy.” But what if there was a way for parents to help encourage their kids to eat healthfully without scaring them off? New research shows that educating children about the power of good nutrition helps kids make healthier food selections all on their own.
This is big news for every parent who has ever witnessed a total meltdown over green beans. As it turns out, all you need to do is tell your kids why you want them to eat more vegetables in a positive way.
Teaching kids about nutrition works
Researchers from Washington State University and Florida State University teamed up to analyze the effects educating children about nutrition had on their eating habits. And what the scientists found was that providing kids with educational and affirmative statements about the healthy foods they were given encouraged them to eat more of it.
Published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the findings show that teaching kids is more effective at getting them to eat more healthy food than the traditional route of repeated exposure.
Study leader Jane Lanigan, associate professor in the WSU Department of Human Development, says that while previous studies indicate repeated exposure increases the chances a child will try something new, that research “didn’t look at the context of those offerings.”
Lanigan and her cohorts wanted to see if child-centered nutrition phrases (CCNPs), affirmative statements explaining the benefits of healthy food, could encourage young children to make healthier food choices. In their study, a total of 87 children between the ages of three and five were surveyed.
Healthy eating at every age
The researchers gave the kids green peppers, lentils, tomatoes and quinoa at school over a six-week period. Some foods were given with CCNPs, while other foods were simply given repeat exposure. CCNPs included statements about how eating healthy food would help the kids jump higher and run faster, or to grow up big and strong.
In the repeat exposure group, children ate an additional seven grams of the food one month after the study ended. But for CCNP foods, consumption went up by nearly 15 grams — twice that of repeated exposure.
What this means is that kids ate twice as much of a food, if they were told it was good for them.
“Every child wants to be bigger, faster, able to jump higher. Using these types of examples made the food more attractive to eat,” Lanigan said.
Getting kids to eat healthier is a top priority for most every parent; a diet of chicken nuggets and macaroni may sound sustainable, but it isn’t. Research shows that poor dietary habits in childhood can lead to major health problems and chronic disease later down the line.
Increased screen time and a lack of physical activity are also major threats to children’s long-term health. Indeed, the health of children today is being attacked from virtually every angle: Vaccines, cellphones, GMO poison, toxic plastics and so much more; that’s why getting them to eat good food is more important now than ever.
Learn more about healthy living at Fresh.news.
Sources for this article include: