Gardening, Cooking Parties Double Kids' Veggie
TUESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Kindergarteners may be more
likely to eat vegetables if they're enticed with things such as
tasting parties, cooking classes, gardening and even Popeye
That's the finding of an eight-week study that monitored the
fruit and vegetable consumption of 26 kindergarteners before and
after they participated in a program that used multimedia, role
models and play to promote healthy food consumption.
The research is described in the current issue of the journal
Nutrition & Dietetics.
"We got the children planting vegetable seeds, taking part in fruit- and vegetable-tasting parties, cooking vegetable soup, and watching Popeye cartoons. We also sent letters to parents with tips on encouraging their kids to eat fruit and vegetables, and teachers sat with children at lunch to role model healthy eating," lead researcher Professor Chutima Sirikulchayanonta, of Mahidol University in Bangkok, said in a journal news release.
After the program, the children's vegetable intake doubled and
the types of vegetables they ate increased from two to four. In
addition, parents said their children talked about vegetables more
often and were proud they had eaten them in their school lunch.
Among the other findings:
- Children feel special when adults sit next to them and eat the
- Involving children in food preparation helps them learn the
names and colors of foods and helps develop their hand-eye
Previous research has shown that food habits and eating patterns
learned in early childhood continue into later childhood and
adulthood, Sirikulchayanonta said. This means that emphasizing
healthy food choices at an early age can have a major impact on a
person's future health, she added.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers
tips for healthy children and families.
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