Start them early apparently. That was the findings of a UK study published in the online journal PLOS last week.
Yes, it’s that question that strikes fear into the hearts of many parents, how do I get my child to eat vegetables? Some try to sneak them into other foods, some try to sweeten them but all you need to do is introduce them to the vegetables early and repeatedly.
Children from the UK, France and Denmark between the ages of 4-38 months were given repeat exposures (5-10) to artichoke purée either pure, with added sugar or with added vegetable oil.
The results suggest that the younger the child is the more likely they will eat the novel vegetable. The researchers found that the children could be split into 4 groups depending on their eating behaviour: learners (40%), plate clearers (21%), non eaters (16%), and others (23%).
Interestingly the addition of oil caused the children to eat less. This could be explained by the facts that the oil could change the flavour and texture of the purée and also increase the energy content of the food causing the child to feel full quicker. The addition of sugar unsurprisingly led to a slightly higher acceptance of the food.
Oh, and there were a higher percentage of non-eaters in the Danish group than the group from the UK, so we may have lost our crown as the fussiest eaters of Europe.