How to get kids to eat more fruits, vegetables

June 26, 2023 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

How to get kids to eat more fruits, vegetables

Findings from a new German study shows that children will eat significantly more fruits and vegetables if they stay at the table for only ten minutes more -- 30 minutes in total. On average, they ate an additional 100 grams of fruits and vegetables.

One-hundred grams represents about one of the five recommended daily portions of fruits and vegetables and is as much as a small apple or a small bell pepper. According to research, one additional daily portion of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of cardiometabolic disease (e.g., insulin resistance, fatty liver, type 2 diabetes) by 6 to 7 percent. For such an effect, a sufficient quantity of fruits and vegetables must be available on the table -- bite-sized pieces are best," said the researchers.

About the study

Fifty pairs of parents and 50 children participated in the study. The average age of children was 8 years and the average age of parents was 43 years. An equal number of boys and girls participated.

The participants were served a typical German dinner with sliced bread, cold cuts, and cheese, as well as fruits and vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces.

"The duration of the meal is one of the central components of a family meal which parents can vary to improve the diet of their children. We had already found hints of this relation in a meta-analysis on studies looking at the qualitative components of healthy family meals. In this new experimental study, we were able to prove a formerly only correlative relationship," said the researchers.

The study also shows that longer family meals did not lead to the children eating more bread or cold cuts; they also did not eat more dessert.

Researchers assume that the bite-sized pieces of fruits and vegetables were easier to eat and, as a result, more enticing.

Source: JAMA Network Open, April 3, 2023.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.