Kids often refuse to eat vegetables, but a simple solution could revolutionize their fruit and vegetable intake. Find out how a simple change in meal length can make all the difference.
The Great Vegetable Dilemma
Kids and vegetables are often at odds, but a simple solution could change that. According to a study conducted by researchers at Max Planck Institutethe amount of fruit and vegetables consumed by children can be significantly increased by extending the length of meals by only 10 minutes.
This is not magic, but the result of an experiment conducted with 50 groups of parents and children. Children consumed an average of 2.4 more servings of fruit and 3.7 more servings of vegetables when meal duration was extended. The results, published in the JAMA Network, are surprising but deserve to be analyzed in detail.
The culprits of this reluctance
Why are children reluctant to eat vegetables? Several factors may be to blame, such as the transformation of our diet, the influence of advertising or the poor cooking of vegetables. However, one aspect that may not have been thought of until now is the time spent on meals, which also influences the way we eat.
The key to success
After an initial assessment of demographics, family meal schedules, and food preferences, researchers invited participants to two laboratory dinners. At one meal, participants ate according to their usual meal duration, while at the other, they had 50% more time (on average 10 minutes more). The results show that during the longer meals, the children increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables, without any significant difference in their consumption of other foods.
The numbers speak for themselves
With 10 more minutes at the table, children also felt fuller, despite consuming similar calories. So the study suggests that strategies to extend family mealtimes might include choosing foods that children like, accommodating their preferences and setting clear rules. Of course, changing habits takes time, as the study authors point out.
These findings are not entirely new, as a previous study had already shown that extending the length of school lunches also increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Nevertheless, these findings are of critical importance to global public health, as children often do not consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
In conclusion, there is now evidence that extending meal times by just 10 minutes can help significantly increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children. This simple and effective discovery could revolutionize the way families approach meals and help improve the eating habits of children around the world. So why not try spending a little more time at the table with your kids today and see if it makes a difference in their appetite for vegetables?
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