Children versus vegetables: Have scientists finally discovered how to persuade kids to eat their greens? – Scotsman comment

Getting the young generation to “eat their greens” has been a cause célèbre of parents for many years.

Have kids been telling us for years that our vegetables are not up to scratch? (Picture: Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Images)
Have kids been telling us for years that our vegetables are not up to scratch? (Picture: Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Images)

If ever there was a time when kids happily munched down steaming piles of boiled broccoli while heartily singing a song in praise of this rather divisive brassica, then it has been lost in the mists of time.

So parents have long debated just what is the best way to convince their offspring of the benefits of veg.

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However, new research presented to the European Congress on Obesity, no less, may have found an answer after discovering that providing rewards to children aged between one and four can help them to stomach it.

Apparently, a young child typically has to try a new vegetable eight to ten times before they like it, so a reward for every slice of cucumber for eternity would not be necessary.

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And, no, before you ask, the rewards were not sweets, with one researcher stressing: “The type of reward is... very important – it should be fun but not food.” Instead the youngsters were given stickers or a toy crown.

But surely we have arrived at a strange situation, when growing children must be declared to be members of a fictional royal family or otherwise rewarded as if for completing a chore before they will eat healthy, life-giving, natural food?

Perhaps this says more about us and the way the modern world mass-produces hot-housed and often tasteless fruit and veg? Fresh, seasonal produce that is properly cooked surely stands a much better chance of meeting the approval of a judge more fearsome than any on Masterchef – a two-year-old toddler.

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