How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables
by Dr. Mercola

Letting toddlers experiment with gardening may cause a change in children's
attitudes toward vegetables.

Saundra Lorenz and fellow researchers at the Texas A&M University in College Station discovered that when 4 and 5-year-olds spent around 30 minutes per week planting and tending to a garden, they were more likely to eat vegetables.

Kids Get Attached To Their Produce

Young children often think that food comes from a grocery store, Lorenz says. Allowing them to work in a garden and watch how things grow helps them to make a connection to their food source.

Children become attached to the food after working in the garden, which may make the vegetables they rear more appealing than those bought in the grocery store, the researchers note.

Lorenz and her team report their findings at the 85th Annual Meeting of the American Dietetic Association-a professional organization representing America's licensed nutritionists and dieticians.

Getting Involved In Gardening

The study involved 22 children, aged between 4 and 5 years, who gardened for 30 minutes per week for eight weeks. The children planted green beans, bell peppers, radishes and cherry tomatoes. After planting the vegetables, the children watered the gardens each week, weeded the land and got involved in composting.

Although the children did not seem to mind the taste of the vegetables before gardening, the researchers noted that after spending eight weeks gardening, the children became less likely to refuse the four types of vegetables they had grown. They also ranked green beans higher in order of preference than they had at the beginning of the study.

Try This At Home

Trying to get children involved in gardening may be an easy way to get them to like vegetables, and they may also become more willing to try unfamiliar types, Lorenz noted.

Involving parents in the process, by gardening at home, may help kids like vegetables even more, she suggested. The gardens needn't be large, Lorenz notes, so even in an urban environment kids can learn to grow and appreciate vegetables.

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