Persistence Key to Kids Eating Veggies
Study Shows the More You Offer Vegetables to Babies, the More Babies Will Eat Them
Dec. 3, 2007 -- Show kids the veggies, and they will eat them. That's the
message of a new study showing babies as young as 4 months old will eat green
beans after a few tries.
Researchers found the more green beans the babies saw, the more likely they
were to eat them and eventually enjoy them, even when given the choice of
something sweet, like peaches.
The results showed both breastfed and formula-fed infants had a similar
reaction to introducing pureed vegetables to their diet, which suggests that
persistence pays off when it comes to getting your kids to eat their
Researchers say eating fruits
and vegetables lowers the risk of obesity as well as disease. Health organizations
recommend that children as well as adults eat five to 13 servings of fruits and
vegetables per day, but studies show few achieve these goals
How to Help Kids Eat Their Veggies
Many parents cite reluctance on their children's part as a key concern when
introducing fruits and vegetables into their diet.
In this study, published in Pediatrics, researchers looked at whether
breastfeeding affected 4-to-8-month old babies'
acceptance of fruits and vegetables into their diet.
Forty-five infants, 44% of whom were breastfed, were divided into two
groups. One was fed pureed green beans, and the other was fed pureed green
beans and then pureed peaches each day for eight days.
The results showed that the children initially ate more of the peaches,
especially if they had been breastfed and their mother ate fruit. But breastfed
babies whose mothers ate green beans were no more likely to accept green beans
than the others.
Researchers found repeated exposure to the green beans, with or without the
peaches, made the infants more likely to eat them and eat more of them.
Based on these results, researcher Catherine A. Forestell, PhD, of the
College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and colleagues recommend that
parents and caregivers offer infants repeated opportunities to taste a given
fruit or vegetable so kids can learn to like these foods and eat their
They also suggest that parents focus not only on children's facial
expressions when eating new foods, but on their willingness to continue