Monkey See Monkey Do
Going bananas trying to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies? New research explains it's important for parents to lead by example. After all, if you won't eat it, why should your kids? Sally Squires of the LA Times reports:
Studies of children including those as young as 2 and teenagers consistently show that what parents eat can shape what their offspring consume.
"That's the strongest of all factors in influencing children's eating behavior," says Mary Story, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. "If father is saying, 'No way I'll eat that broccoli,' then it's very likely that kids won't eat it either."
Parents, when you consider the amount nutrients in produce, this seems like a worthy dietary adjustment for you too. The article also provides tips on incorporating fruit and vegetables into your children's diets. Here's a good one:
Exploit hungry moments. Most kids are ravenous after school, "so there's a really high chance that they will eat fruit and vegetables," says Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. Dinner preparation is another high-appetite opportunity, so have fresh baby carrots, sugar snap peas and other veggies ready with dip. Also, place fruit and vegetables in strategic places where hungry kids scrounging for food are most likely to find them: on the kitchen counter and washed and cut up in bags on eye-level shelves in the front of the refrigerator.
If you haven't already heard it, you should also check out Dr. Fuhrman's podcast on how to get your children to eat healthy food.