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Science

Scientists Discover How To Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables 257

HughPickens.com writes: Roberto Ferdman writes in the Washington Post that researchers at Texas A&M University, looking for patterns in food consumption among elementary school children, found an interesting quirk about when and why kids choose to eat their vegetables. After analyzing plate waste data from nearly 8,500 students, it seems there's at least one variable that tends to affect whether kids eat their broccoli, spinach or green beans more than anything: what else is on the plate. Kids are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it's paired with a food that isn't so delicious that it gets all the attention. For example, when chicken nuggets and burgers, the most popular items among schoolchildren, are on the menu, vegetable waste tends to rise significantly. When other less-beloved foods, like deli sliders or baked potatoes, are served, the opposite seems to happen."Our research team looked at whether there is a relationship between consumption of certain entrees and vegetables that would lead to plate waste," says Dr. Oral Capps Jr. "We found that popular entrees such as burgers and chicken nuggets, contributed to greater waste of less popular vegetables."

Traci Man, who has been studying eating habits, self-control and dieting for more than 20 years, believes that food pairings are crucial in getting kids to eat vegetables. "Normally, vegetables will lose the competition that they're in — the competition with all the other delicious food on your plate. Vegetables might not lose that battle for everyone, but they do for most of us. This strategy puts vegetables in a competition they can win, by pitting vegetables against no food at all. To do that, you just eat your vegetable first, before any of the other food is there," says Mann. "We tested it with kids in school cafeterias, where it more than quadrupled the amount of vegetables eaten. It's just about making it a little harder to make the wrong choices, and a little easier to make the right ones."
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Scientists Discover How To Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables

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  • by amalcolm ( 1838434 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @07:41AM (#50634361)
    Eat you vegatables ... OR STARVE !!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ananamouse ( 943446 )

      My uncle had a dog that would eat turnip greens.

      Of course it took him three weeks to warm up to them.....

      • My parents have a dog, which LOVES cucumbers. It even looks like he likes them more than meat. When planted cucmbers are ripe, this dog looks under leaves and eats one every time he is near garden.

        • My parents have a dog, which LOVES cucumbers. It even looks like he likes them more than meat. When planted cucmbers are ripe, this dog looks under leaves and eats one every time he is near garden.

          My beagle loved sweet potatoes. She kept digging them up out of the garden way before they were big enough to harvest. When we did go to harvest them, we got like 2 potatoes.

    • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:29AM (#50634583)

      Eat you vegatables ... OR STARVE !!

      Yes, well -- the reality is that French people have known this for many years. They didn't need "scientists" to measure food pairings to figure it out.

      In many French schools, it is standard practice for primary school kids to eat a 3-course lunch which takes at least 30 minutes. The kids are required to sit at table and behave effectively like well-mannered adults.

      Almost all do. And almost all eat a large variety of foods.

      How is this possible?

      It's incredibly simple. The first course often will consist of something that kids may like a bit less, such as vegetables or a soup made with vegetables or whatever. But the kids are hungry. They generally don't have constant snacking as is common in the US.

      But that's the first course -- it's all the kids have. So they either eat it, or they sit there for 10 minutes or more watching other kids eat until they are served something else. (Since the meals are served to them at table, they simply learn to wait.) Under these circumstances, guess which most HUNGRY kids will choose? They eat their vegetables.

      It's not rocket science. And once kids get used to this routine, they learn to like more foods, and they'll observe older kids eating unfamiliar foods and they'll try those too. Pretty soon they just eat a wide variety of things.

      I don't mean to downplay this research too much, but it's a pretty obvious thing to do. American culture of eating has tended to focus much more on efficiency in the past half century or so -- eat fast, slap everything on the plate, and be done. French culture still values the idea of lingering at the table with multiple courses, so this "research" was simply obvious to them and has been standard practice for decades.

      • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:51AM (#50634713) Homepage
        And before you know it, they start catching anything they can find in the schoolyard to supplement their diet of vegetable soup with some protein. Snails, frogs... do we really want the children of America to start eating like the French?
        • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:06AM (#50634789) Homepage

          Honestly, compared to Happy Meals, sodas, and the general crap North American kids eat ... they should be so lucky as to start eating like the French.

          There would be far less obese children, less diabetes, and a whole slew of benefits.

          I see so many young kids who are almost as big around as an overweight adult, if not bigger. And that should be scaring the crap out of people ... and then you look at their parents and realize these kids have no chance.

          Because the parents won't eat anything but chicken fingers and other garbage either, because they were whiny fussy kids who wouldn't eat vegetables.

          • Honestly, compared to Happy Meals, sodas, and the general crap North American kids eat ... they should be so lucky as to start eating like the French.

            France is McDonald's 2nd biggest market [thelocal.fr], and the French eat at McDonald's about as often as Americans do.

            • Sure, but this tells me they're not eating the same stuff:

              Menu: They have a different menu in McDo than in the US and itâ(TM)s far more French. You can buy beer in McDonalds in France, order a McBaguette with French cheese â" a McCamembert! The ingredients are from France. Unlike most other countries where McDonalds operates, when they opened in France it was on the grounds that only French ingredients would be used.

              Which makes me wonder what the nutritional value of the French offerings are vs th

            • by Junta ( 36770 )

              I think that McD gets a lot of heat and serves more as a symbol than the primary cause. As a symbol, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, people who don't care about healthy diet eat there. Those who do care avoid it like the plague. However those two sets of folks are also doing a whole lot more than deciding whether they eat at McD or not. In France that anti-McD stigma may not be as severe, and as such McD might not cause such health problems.

              Or we have incorrectly stereotyped one nation or the oth

        • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:07AM (#50634797)

          And before you know it, they start catching anything they can find in the schoolyard to supplement their diet of vegetable soup with some protein. Snails, frogs... do we really want the children of America to start eating like the French?

          My guess is that you're trying to be funny here, but just to clarify my previous comment -- the kids get other ("main") courses that include protein. It's just that to get there they either have to eat their veggies or spend 10+ minutes being hungry and watching other kids eat their veggies. (Older kids will be used the routine, so they'll just start eating.) Peer pressure and hunger combined do wonders here.

        • Snails, frogs... do we really want the children of America to start eating like the French?

          Well since the French are renowned for having some of the best cuisine in the world that sounds like a very good idea.

          Plus if you think French cuisine is heavy on snails and frogs you really need learn something about French cooking. That's like saying that US cuisine is based on Rocky Mountain oysters [wikipedia.org]. Yeah, some people eat it but it's not exactly a diet staple.

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

            Snails are part of "haute cuisine".

            Although they're not that bad really. They're just something that "sounds bad" and scare xenophobes.

            They take on the taste of whatever sauce they're served with. Since a big part of French cooking is sauces, it's a good indicator of whether or not you will like the rest of what a restaurant is serving.

            • Snails are part of "haute cuisine".

              Not everywhere. Believe it or not I had escargot in a Pizza Hut in Chengdu China [lingboli.com] about 10 years ago. We were stunned to see snails on the menu in a Pizza Hut and believe me, it wasn't haute cuisine.

              Although they're not that bad really. They're just something that "sounds bad" and scare xenophobes.

              This is true. It's a lot like eating clams or oysters. I think people mostly eat them for the butter or whatever else they get dipped into.

      • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @10:01AM (#50635143)

        I'll take a wild guess here: the French chefs pay more attention to cooking their vegetables. I've been served broccoli in the US and Germany that had just been tossed into a vat of water, and boiled until it had the consistency of mushy peas. No seasoning at all. Then I once was served broccoli in France, where it had been steamed, but didn't fall apart, it had been very lightly seasoned, and served with some Hollandaise sauce, in a separate tiny tub, so that I could just use a wee bit of it.

        I'm guessing that French cooks take pride in what they do . . . even if they just work in a school cafeteria, they will cook vegetables that children and adults enjoy eating.

        • by godrik ( 1287354 )

          Unfortunately, I do not think French schools have cooks anymore. They have microwaves... Even if I never ate at school (I was living on the next block), still makes me sad.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          This is one aspect of this whole thing that gets overlooked.

          It's not hard to cook vegetables properly but you have to care about what you are doing and pay attention. This is not something I would expect in any American institutional setting.

          If the vegetables aren't cooked right, children will rightly have an instinctive aversion too them as they have become bitter and nutritionally worthless.

      • Dr Malcolm Kendrick (see all his books) has a theory that the leisurely and cultured French attitude to meals may help to account for the "French paradox" - that they eat lots of meat and fats*, washed down with wine**, but have very low rates of heart and circulatory disease. What if the root cause isn't anything to do with WHAT you eat - but with HOW you eat it? Imagine a typical Western person's lunch - perhaps a sandwich or other snack, probably crammed down at a desk while trying to go on working under

      • I've seen TV shows... I think one of Anthony Bourdain's actually... that show what kids in France eat for their school lunch. And yeah... the meals looked like food I'd still be happy to eat as an adult.

        The meals served in the schools here? Not so much. How about this for a way to get kids to eat their vegetables: Cook and season them in a way such as they are palatable. You don't need to stack them up against bad-tasting food or keep the kids hungry enough that they'd eat anything. Just prepare them

        • by swv3752 ( 187722 )

          It depends on the school. When I lived in the Midwest and Northeast, were the typical institutional meals- burgers and chicken nuggets, and pizza made from cardboard. In Louisiana, they had real southern cooking in schools. There can be good meals in public schools, but most places do not do it.

          There is also the issue that some people have a gene, that if expressed, makes broccoli taste bad. For me, eating broccoli is like eating moldy food. I am just not going to eat broccoli no matter how hungry I am

    • Just wrap the broccoli in bacon, and top it off with barbecue sauce. Everything tastes better with bacon and barbecue sauce.

      Alternatively . . . leave out the bacon and barbecue sauce, and just give them ketchup. For those of you that are too young to remember or know this, the US government declared ketchup as a vegetable for school lunches, back in the 80's.

      • Exactly. That or melted cheese. :-)

        * Broccoli + Cheddar
        * Cauliflower + Swiss
        * Spinach + Mozzarella
        * Asparagus + Parmesan

        Won't work if the kid is lactose intolerant obviously ,,, just like this "finding".

        Probably easier to give the kid natural consequences. "Eat your veggies and you get pie"

        Just need the right motivation ! :-)

      • Or slather the vegetables with butter. Remember butter? That delicious, creamy, tasty, treat that's just stuffed with nutritional goodness?

        (If you think that's funny or wrong, pick up a book on nutrition written by someone competent in the past five years).

        • Yeah, 20 years ago, it was common knowledge that milk fats were bad and margarine was good for you, but recently the thinking has reversed.

      • The government required so many vegetable servings be given at meals to kids or the school lost its meal funding so to prevent the poor schools who weren't able to get enough vegetables from losing their funding they declared ketchup a vegetable. I suppose you'd rather the poor have gone hungry because the democratic congress wouldn't change the law?
  • by zazzel ( 98233 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @07:47AM (#50634381)

    Well, why not just reduce the serving size of the "delicious" food on your plate? Three chicken wings + as much broccoli as you like...

    Or, maybe those kids' taste buds are actually signalling them to get the nutritious food first, and eat the unimportant remainder later (or never). What's the nutritious value of broccoli, anyways? There's a reason vegetable gardens used to be wayyyy smaller than the main crops.

    Maybe kids are fat because they are being served prepared foods with insane amounts of sugar (as in HFCS), while at the same time their parents are being told that their kids must not go out and play alone, for fear of the ubiquitous imagined child predator. Turn off the internet for their PS4s and put them out in the rain, they'll live (and lose weight, and eventually have fun).

    • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:11AM (#50634505)

      The reason vegetable gardens were smaller was because either the main crop would bring more money in, or that there was limited space left over for a vegge garden. At least they used to have gardens!

      Its not often nutritious food that we crave, its the hard-for-cavemen-to-obtain food that we love. Fatty, sugary, salty food is not so good for us in the quantities we eat, and that the real problem - its too readily available If we only ate small amounts, we'd be fine (he said while eating a huge cookie).

      And yes, this has the same sense of igNobility about it as anecdotal studies show that if you give kids loads of sweets they won't have appetite left for dinner, no matter what it is.

      • And yes, this has the same sense of igNobility about it as anecdotal studies show that if you give kids loads of sweets they won't have appetite left for dinner, no matter what it is.

        It sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes you really smart fockers forget that a great percentage of the population actually engaged in child rearing is less intelligent than you.

        Hearing something like this, over and over if necessary, can only help what has become an epidemic of poor Western dietary trends.

        • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
          "It sounds like a no-brainer, but [...] Hearing something like this, over and over if necessary, can only help what has become an epidemic of poor Western dietary trends."

          Ever notice how a study comes out that says something people don't like, usually but not always about diet or psychology, and people here will try to pick it apart with "correlation does not equal causation" or argue there's some obvious factor that the people running the experiment forgot to account for.

          And does anyone else recall tha
      • Works for me. This vegetable fetishism is bullshit.
    • Well, why not just reduce the serving size of the "delicious" food on your plate? Three chicken wings + as much broccoli as you like...

      Because the result is three consumed chicken wings and a pile of untouched broccoli. If you want the kids to eat veggies it is a bad idea to pile it next to something much yummier. Give me a pile of veggies or a piece of chocolate cake, I know which one I'm going to want to eat first. Kids aren't any different and have less self control. If you give them an attractive bad choice, most of them are going to make that bad choice.

      Or, maybe those kids' taste buds are actually signalling them to get the nutritious food first, and eat the unimportant remainder later (or never).

      No the child's taste buds are telling them to eat the energy rich foods first.

      • by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:01AM (#50634761)

        Give me a pile of veggies or a piece of chocolate cake, I know which one I'm going to want to eat first. Kids aren't any different and have less self control. If you give them an attractive bad choice, most of them are going to make that bad choice.

        This is a good example. If you give me a pile of veggies or a piece of chocolate cake, but I'm expected to eat both of them, I'll definitely choose the pile of veggies first.

        I didn't learn this particularly well as a child, but as an adult I'm often put in situations -- like eating at someone else's house -- where I'm served some food I don't particularly like. As an adult, my choice is generally to consume the undesirable food first, because (1) I'm hungrier, so any food will taste better, and (2) I'd prefer to end my meal with something I find pleasant.

        Kids often lack the self-discipline to make such a rational choice, AND they know that most parents aren't going to force-feed them. So, they eat the good stuff first and get full enough that they've satisfied their initial hunger pangs (because vegetables often are the low-calorie portion of the meal, even if high in nutrients) -- is it any wonder they aren't going to volunteer to eat all the veggies at the end??

        I also think that Americans have a particular propensity to worry too much about kids not eating regularly. We often give kids snacks a number of times each day. And at mealtimes if a kid doesn't eat much, the parents often fret at night -- "Is he okay? Did he get enough? Won't he be hungry?"

        In reality, the vast majority of kids obviously have excellent survival mechanisms that won't let them starve themselves. If they eat a bit less at one meal, they'll eat more at the next. If they don't have a lot of snacks, they'll be likely to eat better at meals in general. (And they'll also be less restless and better behaved, since they'll be focused on eating and satisfying hunger, rather than running around burning off the sugar from the cookie they had an hour ago.)

        Parents can easily use hunger to their advantage -- it won't get kids to eat everything, but presenting something unfamiliar to kids as a "first course" will generally make it more likely that they will eat more of it... simply because they're hungry.

        • by ComputerGeek01 ( 1182793 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @10:25AM (#50635311)

          Parents can easily use hunger to their advantage -- it won't get kids to eat everything, but presenting something unfamiliar to kids as a "first course" will generally make it more likely that they will eat more of it... simply because they're hungry.

          Of all the dumb ass psycho babble crap about parenting I've read, this has to be disconnected overly simplified load of shit ever. Do you actually know how long it takes to starve a kid into submission? It's not exactly a matter of sitting there for an hour or two to win an argument. If the kid doesn't want to eat it, they are not going to eat it. They figure out pretty early on that you aren't a lunatic and that you love them too much to actually shove a funnel down their throat and force feed them. A little later on they, hopefully, realise "Hey, my Mom and Dad aren't useless sacks of trash and I get fed multiple times a day, every day, on a pretty regular basis. I can afford to skip this meal if I want to.". After those two things happen, literally the only way to introduce new food that is in anyway different looking is through siege craft. You both sit at the table with a plate of food arranged somewhere between you and them. You as a parent try in vain to tell them how good it is and that they should just try it, "Just one bite.", "You can have ice cream after you finish.", "You can stay up and watch TV." but you know full well that you're just making noise to pass the time and that this is just the start of the battle. Eventually bedtime rolls around and you either tell them to go to their room or you tell them to sleep at the table if they have to but they are not getting up until they have eaten their food, either way the result is the same. You end up wrapping the meal up in a tupperware container in preparation for the next fight. Morning rolls around and your kid asks you about breakfast. You sit down with your plate of eggs and sausage and tell them that the only thing they are getting is the dinner that they didn't eat last night. They huff and puff as expected and the stand off starts all over again. You repeat this for the next meal if you have to until they finally break down and eat what you gave them.

          I literally just went through this with my kid. And do you know what the most fucked up part of it was? It was chicken alfredo, she loves chicken alfredo we just haven't had it in a while so she had forgotten. Four miserable meals later, at dinner the next day, she finally takes a bite and says "Hm, this is actually pretty good." and the plate was clean in less than five minutes. Yeah, I can tell you for a fact that anyone who has ever said "Oh, I have never thought about hurting my kids in anger!" is either a parental doormat or they are just plain lying to your face.

          I know exactly what you're thinking right now because it's the same thing every new parent and DINK thinks at this point. "I bet after you do that they learn to eat what you give them.". Hahahaha, no. This isn't like setting up a new server where it's a few hours of pain and then you are done with it. This is a regularly recurring theme.

          • Ah, the parental anecdote. It sounds like oyu have a tough time -- maybe try changing tact? I've found that parenting is an exercise in finding and leveraging soft power (versus hard power like them going to bed hungry, re-feeding them supper in the morning if they didn't eat it, etc). I'll match one.

            I sit my kids down to eat before everything is on the table, and bring out of the kitchen and plate for them what I want them to eat -- whether it's something new, veggies, etc. Then in the 5-10 minutes
            • I don't think it's time to change tactics yet, things aren't as bad as I make them out to be, I just embellish my frustration for the sake of the reader's entertainment. The fact is my kid is still young and we are still in the habit forming stage. I know that in the next year or two she'll finally realise that I'm not in fact trying to poison her and she will be more willing to try new food; it's all just a matter of time. It used to be that she would always want to literally sit in my lap and eat whatever

      • No the child's taste buds are telling them to eat the energy rich foods first. This happens because we evolved in a time when food was scarce and energy rich foods like meat were a prize to be treasured.
        No the taste buds don't tell you that. For starters: meat has not much energy. Hence the reason you have to eat so extreme amounts of it if you put your diet around it.

        You mean like chicken tenders? Kids today are fat because they are getting way too much food and way too little exercise. That is the fault o

    • Three chicken wings + as much broccoli as you like...

      aka 3 chicken wings

    • by Ken D ( 100098 )

      .. or just maybe it's because you have to eat veggies when they are ripe, and they don't store that well, at least not until you understand how to can food without poisoning yourself. Whereas certain other crops can get you through the long cold winter even though by Spring you'll be sick of shriveled potatoes for dinner.
       

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:23AM (#50634897) Homepage

      Or, maybe those kids' taste buds are actually signalling them to get the nutritious food first

      Except that's not what is happening.

      Eating crap like chicken nuggets teaches kids to crave foods with crazy amounts of sugar and salt, and it skews their tastebuds to preferring crap. Chicken nuggets aren't more nutritious. They're full of more crap.

      What's the nutritious value of broccoli, anyways?

      Quite a lot, actually [whfoods.com]

      Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, chromium, and folate. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium, and copper. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin, and selenium.

      Broccoli is also concentrated in phytonutrients. In one particular phytonutrient categoryâ"glucosinolatesâ"broccoli is simply outstanding. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from broccoli's glucosinolates are the key to broccoli's cancer-preventive benefits.

      In other words, it's really really good for you.

      There's a reason vegetable gardens used to be wayyyy smaller than the main crops.

      Yes, because you were selling your main crop, you were surviving off your vegetable garden.

      The problem is we're now on second (or third) generations of kids who have only ever eaten crap food, have been conditioned to find that food tastier, and utterly refuse to eat good food.

      Look around, you can see entire families who eat like spoiled children. They won't eat vegetables. They don't cook. It's either fast food, or prepared food.

      What I see is a generation of kids who never learned to eat vegetables raising another generation of kids who never will learn to eat vegetables. And I routinely see young kids as fat as I am ... and it took me a lot of years to get here.

      Some of these kids are going to start keeling over in their 20s and 30s.

      • Some of these kids are going to start keeling over in their 20s and 30s.

        Great! More food for me!!! *NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!*

    • I ... don't eat a lot of vegetables. At all. The closest thing in my diet to a vegetable is edamame, red beans, and whatever's in a whopper. Typically I'm eating stuff like McDonalds breakfast sandwiches (this morning I ate a thin cinnamon raisin bagel with bacon, gouda cheese, and an egg--430kcal, 27g fat, 26g protein), Popeye's chicken, or sushi.

      I'm pretty much fine. I gained an extra 20lb in fat somewhere, so straightened things out a bit; I was managing to get 3000kcal or more in, thanks to the ven

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @07:50AM (#50634395)
    > Kids are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it's paired with a food that isn't so delicious

    Here you go kid,"Spam, dirt and carrots."

    "Ewww, I'll eat the carrots"

    "Excellent, I thought you might choose that."
    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      It's funny because it's true !
      I don't understand how people eat spam...

  • by palemantle ( 1007299 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @07:56AM (#50634423)
    A couple of months ago, my mom sees me struggling to shove (not literally) some veggies down my kid's throat and goes, "Stop trying to force-feed her. Leave the food there and when she's hungry, she'll grab it herself".

    Pretty obvious, no? A pity you need a team of researchers and a project to reach this momentous conclusion.
    • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:05AM (#50634785) Homepage
      Many things we assume are obvious should still be verified by measurement. Common sense is often incorrect, and that's where interesting new information comes from. Plus, Moms are frequently wrong about, oh... a whole lot of what they told us growing up. Just like everyone else, they parrot the first thing someone told them that sounded like something they wanted to hear. I know we like to worship the cult of Mom in our society (and Moms certainly deserve our appreciation), but they're hardly infallible.
    • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:13AM (#50634829) Homepage
      When my kids were toddlers, a lot of friends used to comment on how well they ate. Usually while fighting a battle to force feed their own kids. If you shove food down kids throats, the only thing they learn from that experience is how to reject food.

      A lot of it starts with the obsessive tracking of weight and height gain that doctors and midwives push onto parents these days, which makes parents unreasonably anxious about whether their child is eating enough. My eldest was tracking the lower 95th percentile for weight since he was born, and is still a skinny 10 year old despite eating adult sized portions. At first we were told we needed to feed him more, and almost ended up with social services assigned to the case, but after reviewing a food diary which showed him eating more quantity of more nutritious food than most toddlers his age, they finally left us alone.

      • by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:20AM (#50634873) Journal

        My eldest was tracking the lower 95th percentile for weight since he was born, and is still a skinny 10 year old despite eating adult sized portions. At first we were told we needed to feed him more, and almost ended up with social services assigned to the case, but after reviewing a food diary which showed him eating more quantity of more nutritious food than most toddlers his age, they finally left us alone.

        Ugh, I hate that kind of thing so much. With our oldest child (now 6), the pediatrician gave us such a hard time about him being *2 oz* below the targeted weight for this particular appointment (and the implicit threats of getting outside forces involved), that my wife started bawling in the office. I just said look, the kid just had a wet diaper five minutes ago, there's your 2 ounces, and we'll be finding a new pediatrician now.

        • And that kind of nonsense is why we don't have a pediatrician anymore. There was a good one, but she didn't toe the company line and the death of a different doctor's patient was pinned on her. No legal action, just the emotional and social weight. She ended up leaving the country. Our choices since then have been a pediatrician who abuses her own children and a "doctor" who is no better than consulting webmd [which he excuses himself to do] (worse, actually, because he subscribes to medical scams and tries

  • What is sad is that scientists got paid to "figure" this out. Parents have know this forever. First you eat your veggies, then you get your more appetitive foods. Desert is last.

    I apply this same thing to our pastured pigs. First they eat their greens (pasture is 80% of their diet) and any supplement gets fed after that.

    Very basic.

    • by Translation Error ( 1176675 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:37AM (#50634633)

      What is sad is that scientists got paid to "figure" this out. Parents have know this forever.

      There are lots of things that 'everybody knows' that are wrong. Actually studying these things, even though they're 'obvious' lets us weed out the ones that were just bad assumptions and often refine the ones that actually do have some basis in reality.

    • What is sad is that scientists got paid to "figure" this out. Parents have know this forever.

      I coach kids in sports. I can assure you that a LOT of parents do not understand this and you can see the results in their kid's waistlines. Furthermore most of these same parents wouldn't deign to eat a vegetable themselves. Most of the parents of the parents of the kids I coach are fat, out of shape and eat like garbage cans. It's no surprise that the kids end up in the same boat.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:08AM (#50634485)

    There is nothing new about this tactic. You can get almost anyone to make choices by framing the problem. Child whines that they want a cookie. You don't ask if they wouldn't want an apple instead. You ask do they want an apple or carrots? You frame the issue and give them choices but only the choices you want. The kid is happy because he got to make the choice (or thinks he did) and you are happy because he's eating something that is nutritious.

    Politicians do this all the time to (alleged) adults. They frame issues and present a limited menu of options out of which the most appealing option is the one they want you to go for. Works astonishingly effectively

    • There is nothing new about this tactic. You can get almost anyone to make choices by framing the problem. Child whines that they want a cookie. You don't ask if they wouldn't want an apple instead. You ask do they want an apple or carrots? You frame the issue and give them choices but only the choices you want.

      This is absolutely true. More importantly, I think many parents will be surprised how often kids adjust to the "normal" choices they are given and stop whining for the cookie. You want to stop the whining for sweets? Just stop having them in your house. Or set up specific rules (that you NEVER diverge from) about when they are available.

      Often, the problem isn't the kid's diet -- it's also the adults who eat a lot of crap too.

      If you stop offering bad choices, eventually many kids will change their ta

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Politicians do this all the time to (alleged) adults. They frame issues and present a limited menu of options out of which the most appealing option is the one they want you to go for. Works astonishingly effectively

      And we're so innocent when a PHB needs to make a decision or stakeholders need to get involved in a process? Marketing is of course an expert at rigging our buying decisions. Contracts, license agreements and terms of service are lawyers rigging your legal choices. We pretty much all do this whenever we have to give someone else a choice and want it to swing a particular way. There's just more and less ethical ways to do it.

  • What is with this spate of nonsensical "contributions" from this horrible HughPickens.com Doc Savage / Buckaroo Banzai wannabe?

  • How can you eat your pudding if you don't eat your vegetables?
  • Kids are great imitators, if they see you eating a food they are likely to copy. I suppose that this might be a problem if the parent does not like vegetables, but learn for the sake of your kids and discover that cooked properly they are good to eat.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:37AM (#50634631) Journal
    The fast food companies spend billions of dollars doing research on the taste and habits of young children to get them hooked to their product for a lifetime. What is surprising is the few that don't get hooked and the few that somehow develop healthy eating habits later in life.

    Thinking back about the things that I enjoyed as a child, it seems quite ridiculous one would even eat them. I grew up in rural South India, with tamarind trees (Tamarindus indica), a kind of wild tamarind (kodukkaapuli, Pithecellobium dulce), palm trees on public land and mango, jackfruit, coconut trees in private lands. We throw stones at the trees to knock down the fruit and eat it, usually without bothering to wash it! The tender tamarind fruit is barely edible, not sweet and has bitter overtones. Only goats eat the wild tamarind. Jackfruit and coconut cant be knocked down by thrown stones, nor can they be eaten by children without help from adults. Mango is good, but usually you would get chased by farmers and the trees would be guarded by their wives. But if you manage to get some mangoes stolen, you eat like a king, even if the actual fruit is underripe and tastes like bitter gourd. Palm fruit can't be knocked down. But if you beg the tappers who climb palm trees to tap the sap to make toddy they will throw down a few palm fruits. Delicious pulp inside, but don't tell Mom, the toddy tappers are low caste. Somehow we love them as children and grow to mistreat them as adults.

    Why did we like them so much? There were no alternatives. Most of the items you see in the dessert menu of Indian restaurants are made once a year, the rest three or four times a year.

  • I wonder how teachers like having kids coming back to the classroom who couldn't get a decent meal.

  • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @08:40AM (#50634639)
    The footnote explains that in order to get kids to eat Brussels Sprouts, they had to be paired with waterboarding.
  • "If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you
    have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"

  • Yeah, food pairings, who'd have thunk it?! Oh wait, every chef since the middle ages.

    And no, veggies don't pair with fried foods. I'm betting that after fried chicken nuggets, and fried burgers, there's no nutrition left from the veggies that just slide right through.

    Oh, the sequence you say? Right, like the antipasti course, the salad course, the appetizer course.

    And, this is just my observation, tell me if you've heard this before, you don't want your burger to get cold, so you'll eat it while it's hot

    • "And no, veggies don't pair with fried foods."

      Nonsense! Fried okra is pretty good. Fried green tomatoes can be even better. Jalapeno poppers go well with hot wings, as does celery sticks. I'd eat fried pickles with just about anything, and don't even get me started thinking about fried wickles.

      We don't actually fry much of anything in my house, though I get fried chicken from the deli on occasion. But we do steamed veggies with just about every meal and the kids generally love it. We usually toss the vegeta

  • My nieces and nephew from two of my sisters have had a variety of vegetables with every meal since they were infants, and they all love them (sometimes in preference to the main course.) My other nephew, on the other hand, was fed more starch and meat while young, and avoids vegetables like the plague.

    I firmly believe that whether a kid will eat their vegetables has a lot more to do with what kind of foods they eat in their very young days than it has to do with what is served in a school cafeteria. Ma

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc AT carpanet DOT net> on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:06AM (#50634793) Homepage

    I never realized it was weird as a kid, but my grandparents were Italian and they always ate in courses, every single meal. When grammy makes soup, she removes the meat, has a bowl of soup, and then brings the meat out on a plate, then a salad.

    Pasta and meatballs? No, pasta, then meatballs, then a salad to finish it off; even if it was just an ordinary thursday night diner.

    Every night was 3 courses, and holidays were more like 6 or 7 separate courses.

  • Why not dress those vegetables up with a little sauce instead of just steaming them to death and dropping them on the plate? Maybe kids would eat them if they tasted like food. You can even make it sweet if you use stevia, but sauce doesn't have to be sweet or starchy to be effective.

    When I eat broccoli beef, I don't just eat the beef, even if it's the part I was craving when I ordered it. There's sauce on the broccoli. It's delicious. When I cook broccoli, if it's a plain side, it's because it's for a juic

  • What the fuck is a "deli slider"?

    Sounds like a South Asian bobsledder.

  • If you don't eat your veggies you go without dinner.

    Brilliant work there, guys, brilliant. Perhaps we should hire moms to do research instead of scientists.

  • Are these the same scientists who determined mealworms will eat styrofoam if the aren't given any better options? Have they tried getting kids to eat styrofoam by giving them vegetables as alternatives?

  • Kids tend to eat the tastiest thing on their plate.

  • You could just slather it in ranch dressing or cheese. If they're debating whether to eat the chicken nuggets or the broccoli, the veggie is *not* going to win that one - *unless* it's covered in delicious CHEESE.

  • "To do that, you just eat your vegetable first, before any of the other food is there..."

    As the French (to name but one nation) have been doing for centuries. But God forbid Americans would ever admit they had something to learn from the French.

  • I found simple, direct threats to be a very effective technique.

    No fancy food parings, no cajoling, no tricky psychological stuff, just "Eat that broccoli or else", with the "else" left unsaid, but being any number of possible things.

    "...or else no iPod."
    "...or else no TV."
    "...or else no computer."
    "...or else no oxygen."

  • Problem: kids won't eat veggies.
    Solution: make the other food so gross that they have no choice but to eat the veggies or go hungry.
    Yeah, that's effing brilliant. And people got research funding to come up with the obvious. Where do I go to get that kind of funding?
    IMHO, we need to start an award like the Razzies. Something like the No sh*t, Sherlock Prize.

  • FTFA

    The most popular pairing â" hamburger and tater tots â" still results in about 26 percent waste on average, according to the study.

    And you can only imagine what the high-end or average must be.Multiply this by all the schools serving meals and the enormous amount of waste is still not enough to bury the "think of the [hungry] children" mantra recited by the usual suspects. LAUSD, the 2nd largest school district in the US is starting a program of free breakfasts for all served in the classroom

  • so that the pieces are too small to separate - your just eat it all in one spoon/chopstick/forkfull.

How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

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