Here’s How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy
As such, it seems only fitting that not telling children that vegetables are healthy will encourage them to consume healthier foods. To test this hypothesis, the scientists read children stories about a girl who ate carrots. One group of children were told about the benefits of the girl eating carrots, while the second group was told nothing about advantages.
“Parents and caregivers who are struggling to get children to eat healthier may be better off simply serving the food without saying anything about it, or (if credible) emphasizing how yummy the food actually is,” the authors conclude. The findings of this study are significant, as it allows parents to try a different method in getting their kids to eat healthy.
Childhood obesity has double in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past thirty years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meaning that understanding how to promote a healthy diet is an important area to research. As of 2012, one third of American children and adolescents were overweight or obese and data from the CDC found that the root cause in most cases is a “caloric imbalance” by genetic, behavioral and environmental factors.
According to Parents magazine, in order to get children to healthier, parents can make several changes, including: making a meal schedule, planning dinners in advance, introducing new foods slowly, and cutting back on junk food whilst allowing treats. What’s more, nutrition experts have found that parents should not use “food bribing” as an incentive for good behavior as it creates negative associations with food. For example, giving your child a treat for good behavior or forcing healthy foods with an activity incentive can make them throw more tantrums and dislike healthy foods further.
Another great way to encourage children to eat healthy foods is to set an example for them. After all, a study from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, published earlier this year in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that poor eating habits are learned from children’s homes and their future dietary patterns is determined earlier on in life.
“This is really what is driving children’s obesity,” said Barry Popkin, PhD, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of nutrition at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, in a university press release. “Eating fast foods is just one behavior that results from those bad habits. Just because children who eat more fast food are the most likely to become obese does not prove that calories from fast foods bear the brunt of the blame.”