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Study reveals how to get kids to eat vegies

Thursday, May 17, 2012
Study reveals how to get kids to eat vegies
Image: Thinkstock

The vegetable war might be won with a simple dinner-time trick according to new research – and it isn’t bribery or fancy sauces. Kids are apparently more likely to eat their greens if they only have water at the dinner table – and it is a habit they can keep for life.

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New studies out of the US have revealed children ate more raw vegetables when given water to drink, as opposed to soft drink or cordial. A linked study also revealed an association in adults between drinking soft drinks and choosing high-calorie, salty and fried foods.

The research, by T. Bettina Cornwell of the University of Oregon and Anna McAlister of Michigan State University, will be published in the journal Appetite.

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The two separate studies involved a survey of 60 young adults about the role of food and drink pairings as well as 75 three - to - five year-olds to determine the role of drinks and vegetable consumption.

McAlister said serving water could be a simple and effective way to improve kids’ diets because from an early age, children learn to associate sweet, high-calorie drinks with salty and fatty high-calorie-containing foods such as most fast foods. “When we look cross-culturally we can see that food and drink combinations are developed preferences," Cornwall said.

"If the drink on the table sets the odds against both adults and children eating their vegetables, then perhaps it is time to change that drink, and replace it with water."

Sound simple? Unfortunately, many parents know ditching sweet drinks can be even harder than coercing a child to eat broccoli. The trick: don’t give them the option while they’re young and they’ll be more likely to make better food choices as they grow older.

Watch: Curtis Stone make a delicious roast chicken

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