A common struggle for parents is getting their child to eat vegetables, and their little taste buds often have an aversion to greens. Of course, their time in the womb is said to determine their palate.
Kids tend to reject veggies based on how they look, the texture, and the unfamiliar taste. Coaxing a child to eat their nutritious greens can result in frustration on both sides.
Thankfully a couple of professors have come up with a smart trick to get your little ones to munch down their vegetables happily.
Quality over Quantity
Co-parents and Kellogg School Professors, Michal Maimaran and Yuval Salant made an odd discovery while eating with their children at a Japanese
restaurant. They ordered sushi and noticed that their kids took the avocado out of their sushi and ate it separately. They decided to order a plate of avocado which the kids ate happily.
The two professors wondered if this may have to do with a limited quantity of the vegetable on their plate, so they later conducted experiments at a nursery school
The experiment entailed exposing children to an array of toys and healthy snacks. The results of the research showed that when there was less of something, the children wanted more of it.
The study has since been published in the Judgment and Decision-Making journal vol. 14, issue 1 in January 2019.
The Power of FOMO
According to Professor Maimaran, “if you want them to eat fruits or vegetables, just offer less of it.” They realized that children are more curious about a food item on their plate if there is less of it rather than an unlimited amount. They don’t like missing out, and that’s what having less feels like.
The pressure of having three servings of fruits and vegetables per day is a challenge for both children and adults. The strategy of limited-availability is less stressful because parents do not have to resolve to scold, bribery, and begging. The approach has been incredibly successful, according to the professors.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Stories of parents trying to get their little ones to eat their veggies often sound like war stories and all their creative strategies often fail. This simple hack sparked an internet buzz as parents shared their surprise at how well the strategy worked.
The Kellogg School of Business received incredible feedback on Twitter, and from various websites which shared the findings. The study was approached with skepticism by some parents.
However, it is different strokes for different folks so the strategy may not work for all kids. The limited-availability strategy proved to be more successful than other approaches. The mix of reactions came from parents all around the world, who share this common struggle, some of whom have negative feelings about getting their children to eat their greens.
Given the high rates of obesity among children from a young age, this method is a surefire strategy against unhealthy eating habits.
Often parents overwhelm their children with many veggies, which may lead to an aversion of healthy foods later in life.
Limitations seem to spark more curiosity about the taste of the vegetable, and kids get to enjoy healthy food through this perceived notion of scarcity