Teach children to eat healthily? The key is repetition

Teach children to eat healthily? The key is repetition
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Early childhood is a key time to educate children about healthy eating behaviors. However, many of them, in preschool age, do not follow the correct dietary recommendations. A new American study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour found ways to help children familiarize themselves with food without putting any pressure on them, just letting children understand the benefits of healthy eating.



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Ninety-eight families were selected from two "educational programs" for 3-6 year olds. The little ones were served snacks, breakfast and lunch in the case of the first program, while in the second they were offered only snacks and the was brought from home. During the experiment, mainly tomatoes, peppers, lentils and quinoa were introduced.



The survey lasted six weeks, during which the researchers managed food tasting points, from which they offered certain foods to the little ones. During the conversation specific "nutritional" phrases related to food were introduced, such as, for example, "Whole grains help you run fast and jump high" and "Fruits and vegetables help you stay sick".

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Repetitions and explanations: the two winning

The results showed that the repeated exposure of foods and that specific "nutritional" phrases were able to increase the willingness of these preschool children to try the foods, the liking and the consumption of them.



"Conversations at meals can be a good time to encourage food exploration and to help young children develop healthy behaviors," said Jane Lanigan, first author of the research.

"Parents and educators alike would benefit from learning and using appropriate nutrition messages as they introduce new foods."

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