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A Great Way to Improve Your Child’s Nutrition

Posted Mar 17 2009 3:14pm

Favorite foods?  Most children don’t list carrots and broccoli at the top of their list. They would much prefer a chocolate chip cookie or a peanut butter sandwich to a dish of hot steamed vegetables. If you have run out of ideas to get your child to eat more vegetables, you may be interested in the results of a new study. It shows a unique and very effective way to motivate children to eat more vegetables instead of just pushing them around on their plate.

Motivation for good child nutrition

This study was carried out by a group of child nutrition researchers at Cornell University and showed that four-year-old preschoolers ate more vegetables when the vegetables were given catchy, funny, child-friendly, names such as “super sonic spinach” or “topsy turvy tomatoes”, for example. It seems these types of names resonate with children and inspire them to eat the same vegetables they previously would have ignored.

In child nutrition there is power in words

In this study when vegetables were given names and presented to a group of pre-school kids, the four-year-olds ate fifty percent more than when the vegetables were called by their standard names. While this may sound silly to adults, as it turns out, adults aren’t immune to the power of names either. When menu items at restaurants are given fancier, more descriptive names, sales of these items tend to go up. It seems that there is power in words, particularly when it comes to encouraging your children to eat more vegetables.

Your child will be asking for seconds

Would this clever naming trick work in your own house? Start by choosing a healthy vegetable and before preparing it for your child, give it a nifty new name. Try to relate the name to something your child enjoys such as a favorite television show, cartoon character, comic book character, or a sports name. This will help your child better identify with it. When your child sits down to dinner, encourage him to help himself to the “power peas” and “blast off broccoli”. To your delight, you may find your child asking for seconds instead of struggling to eat the first plate. And more vegetables mean more antioxidants to help keep your child healthy.

Although this child nutrition study was conducted on four-year-old children, there’s no reason to think the renaming game won’t encourage children of all ages to eat more vegetables. Give it a try in your house and see if doesn’t inspire your own children to eat more veggies with less of a fuss.

Find more help to get children to eat healthy ant Child n’Parent.

By:  Dr. Kristi

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