It’s always been a colossal difficulty for parents to get their children to eat vegetables. Blame it on the texture, the look, the taste - there’s really something about veggies that disgusts children. You probably may have felt the same way (or still feel the same way) about them, but as parents, we value our children’s health and nutrition and yes, vegetables are a big chunk of the food pyramid.
Many methods have been developed to get children to eat vegetables. You have your vegetable-based food products and vegetable-fortified fast food menu offerings. Or there’s always the stealthier approach. Yes, many moms have admitted to actually sneaking in veggies in the dishes they prepare. If they can’t see them, they wouldn’t know the difference, right?
Barbara Rolls, a nutritionist, echoes the concern of experts and parents: "Childhood obesity rates are on the rise, and at the same time children are not eating the recommended amount of vegetables. Vegetables have been shown to help lower calorie intake, (but) the problem is getting kids to eat enough vegetables."
In the U.S., a recent experiment published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed just how effective this technique is to get children to eat more veggies. When researchers from Pennsylvania State University added pureed vegetables to the favorite food of 39 children, they found out that preschoolers consumed twice as many vegetables and 11 percent less calories throughout a day.
Vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower and squash were used in the study. The researchers modified standard recipes to cut down the calories by 15 to 25 percent. Says Maureen Spill, one of the lead authors, “We were pleased to find that the children found the vegetable-enhanced versions to be equally acceptable to the standard recipes."