Ever since we were kids, our parents have been constantly telling us just how important it is to eat healthy food. We've all been told that eating healthy food can have numerous health benefits for our minds and bodies. Well, while we were still reluctant to eat food offered to us by our parents, we must say that it did indeed work wonders for our health. These days, with the onset of multiple junk food moguls, it has become all the more difficult for parents to convince their children to eat healthy foods. So, what should one do in such a case? A recent study states that telling your children just how much they will benefit from eating healthy food, will actually motivate them to eat healthier.
That's right, researchers at Washington State University and Florida State University conducted a study which found that children responded better to explanations as to why they were being asked to eat healthy instead of just being given healthy foods without offering any explanations. “Every child wants to be bigger, faster, able to jump higher,” lead author Jane Lanigan, associate professor in department of human development at WSU, said.
For the study, the researchers surveyed 87 children aged 3 to 5 for a period of six weeks. During this time, the children were told that if they consumed lentils (healthy, low-fat source of protein and fibre), they would “grow bigger and run faster.” The kids were first asked to rank how much they liked the food that was offered to them. Their options were lentils (protein), quinoa (grain), green peppers (vegetables), and tomatoes (vegetables). Then, they were offered two of these foods twice a week as a part of their normal class routine.
While no additional messages were provided to them about the foods they liked, the researchers made sure to tell them why they needed to consume the foods they didn't like as much. The amount of food they ate was measured pre-test, post-test and one month after the test. Post-test measurements didn't really bring up many results but the researchers figured that could be because the children were tired of eating the same type of food. On the other hand, one month after the test it was found that the children were eating twice the amount of healthy foods that came with a health pitch.
“We wanted to fill a gap, where parents are often told what their kids should be eating but not how to get them to eat it. And that’s really important,” Lanigan stated. This goes to show that when kids are told about the benefits of eating healthy foods in a way that they understand it, they become a lot more open to eating them. So take this tip and start explaining the importance of eating healthy to your children. Stay tuned for more updates.