Seraphina’s Kitchen Says If You Want Your Children To Eat Vegetables – Start Them Early!
Encouraging children to eat vegetables has been a challenge for parents for many generations. With the consumption of vegetables being a key contributor to good health, solutions to this problem are eagerly sought.
The study, involving babies and children from the UK, France and Denmark, revealed that introducing infants to a new vegetable encouraged them to eat more of it compared to offering novel vegetables to older children.
"Such welcome news", says Monica Kaiser, Founder of Seraphina's Kitchen, the baking mat specialists. "It often seems as though it's ‘too late' once children have established a dislike for certain vegetables. Being able to influence a child's food preferences much earlier would be a much simpler approach".
The research, which is timely considering that June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month, also dispelled the popular idea that the taste of vegetables need to be masked or fed in stealth if children are going to accept and eat them.
"For parents who wish to encourage healthy eating in their children, our research offers some valuable guidance", says Professor Marion Hetherington of the Institute of Psychological Sciences, who led the researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK. "Make sure you start early and often. Even if your child is fussy or does not like veggies, our study shows that 5-10 exposures will do the trick."
In carrying out the research, the team gave artichoke puree to more than 300 children from the UK, France and Denmark, from weaning age to 38 months. Globe artichoke was chosen because, in a survey of parents, this is a vegetable that is not normally offered to children.
Each child was given between five and 10 servings of at least 100g of the artichoke puree in one of three versions: basic, sweetened, with added sugar; or added energy, where vegetable oil was included. In the study, there was little difference in the amounts eaten between children who were given basic puree and those who ate the sweetened puree, suggesting that making vegetables sweeter does not make much of a difference to the amount that children eat.
"With concerns around the amount of sugar we are all consuming it is great to learn that adding sugar will not increase the ‘popularity' of a vegetable," says Kaiser.
The researchers also found that younger children ate more of the artichoke than older children, the reason being that by the time children reach the age of two they are reluctant to try new things and start to reject foods.
A very simple way to cook a selection of nutritious vegetables is to cut them into equal-sized pieces and roast them in the oven, on a moderate heat, for 30 to 45 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the density of the vegetable. Placing them on a non-stick baking mat from Seraphina's Kitchen, prior to putting them in the oven, will negate the need to scrub the baking pans afterwards.
About Seraphina's Kitchen
Seraphina's Kitchen designs and creates premium, FDA food-grade, baking mats for the home cook and professional chef. In 2014, following extensive collaboration with its customers, it launched its premium quality Silicone Baking Mats (set of 2) on Amazon.com.
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