How do you persuade or invite young children to eat more vegetables? You could cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces or art-like shapes or julienne them into matchstick shapes and dot with berries. Or you could show cartoon characters eating vegetables and liking it.
Holistic nutrition-oriented cartoons may be one of the best motivation devices to encourage Sacramento public school children to eat more dark green vegetables if they read about cartoon characters eating vegetables in children’s books or viewing cartoon characters eating vegetables on TV, video, or in the movies. According to an Aug 6 2010, news release, “New research: Children’s vegetable intake linked to Popeye cartoons,” Popeye cartoons, tasting parties and junior cooking classes can help increase vegetable intake in kindergarten children, according to research published in the journal, Nutrition & Dietetics.
Also check out the article, Food and Nutrient Intakes of Primary School Children: A Comparison of School Meals and Packed Lunches, G. A. Rees, C. J. Richards & J. Gregory. The time-tested Popeye cartoon throughout generations has helped young children eat their vegetables. Watch Popeye cartoons online at the Toon Jet site.
More cooking classes using fresh vegetables instead of ground meat, iceberg lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and fries would offer children more choices
If more Sacramento public school classrooms would feature cooking classes using vegetables, fruits, raw plant foods, perhaps grown on the school premises, vegetable tasting parties, local school students could become more familiar with the taste and health benefits of vegetables.
For example, in Sacramento elementary schools, instead of cupcakes being used to celebrate a birthday or other event, students might learn how to make raw food cookies with healthful foods such as raw soaked oat groats, chopped dates, a variety of nuts and seeds, or making cookies with flax seed meal and fruit and cooking classes using pureed carrots, for example, to make frozen desserts.
Bake sales might feature raw vegetable-based foods, including brownies made from coconut, soaked raw whole grains or flax seed meal, nuts and seeds, and fruit. Recently, a new study showed that cartoons can help increase vegetable intake in kindergarten students.
Researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok found the type and amount of vegetables children ate improved after they took part in a program using multimedia and role models to promote healthy food
Twenty six kindergarten children aged four to five participated in the eight week study. The researchers recorded the kinds and amounts of fruit and vegetables eaten by the children before and after the program.
Lead researcher Professor Chutima Sirikulchayanonta said, according to the news release, New research: Children’s vegetable intake linked to Popeye cartoons, “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.”
Professor Sirikulchayanonta and her colleagues found vegetable intake doubled and the types of vegetables the children consumed increased from two to four. Parents also reported their children talked about vegetables more often and were proud they had eaten them in their school lunch.
She said there was no significant change in the kinds of fruit eaten by the children, but this was probably because they were already eating more fruit than vegetables at the start of the study.
Kids eat too much sugar, fats, and salt in imitation of family members and from familiarity with the parent’s food habits
According to Australia’s last children’s nutrition survey, Australian children are eating too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit and vegetables. Only 61 per cent of the four to eight years olds surveyed ate the recommended amounts of fruit, and less than one in four ate enough vegetables.
Studies have shown the food habits and eating patterns picked up in early childhood ‘track’ into later childhood and adulthood, according to the August 6, 2010 news release, Professor Sirikulchayanonta said focusing on healthy food choices at an early age can have a major impact on the future health of adults.
Research also highlights the following information:
- Sitting next to children and eating the same foods as them makes children feel special
- ‘Tasting’ parties are an enjoyable way for children to compare tastes of fruit and vegetables
- Involving children in food preparation activities, like measuring, pouring and stirring helps them learn the names and colors of foods, and develops their hand-eye coordination.