FOOD: Could this be the NUMBER ONE way to get your fussy eater EATING?

06 April 2016
Reading time1 min

What if you could tame your fussy eater by having your child do just this one thing?

Having a fussy eater can be one of the most frustrating parts of the parenting journey, often bringing concerns that your child is getting the nutrients they need.

But, what if all that could change simply by allowing your child to watch other kids eat?

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour recently published research on how screen-based peer modelling can affect vegetable consumption and preferences of pre-schoolers.

Reuters expanded on this research to explain the findings. Using bell peppers (capsicum), the pre-schoolers (aged 3-5 years) watched a short video of other children eating bell peppers, and it was then found that those children ate more of those vegetables when presented with them later.

As much as any parent of fussy eaters would LOVE for this to be an overnight fix, it must be pointed out that it did take a while for the pre-schoolers to change their eating habits, however. Instead of an overnight change, the children’s consumption of the bell peppers increased after a week, significantly though, from about six grams to 16 grams.

How often did the kids watch the video?

The pre-schoolers weren’t required to sit and watch the video for long intervals or repetitively. The video was 7.5 minutes long and was shown only once to achieve the aforementioned results.

The research therefore suggests that showing something similar during kids’ television shows or during a break at school before meal times could help to develop better eating habits in children.

Why did the video make a difference?

According to Amy Yaroch, Executive Director of the Gretchen Swanson Centre for Nutrition in Omaha, Nebraska, role modelling is an effective way to get people, including children, to adopt healthy behaviours. Yes, parents serve as role models, but peers can be a very strong influence too.

Considering the obesity epidemic, the influx of sugar-laden foods and busy lifestyles, perhaps finding ways to turn screen-time into healthy time could be a good idea considering these findings.

Has your fussy eater ever been positively influenced by their peers when it comes to eating? Would you give this approach a try?

If you’re fighting a battle with your fussy eater why not check out 12 Veggie Smuggler Recipes for Fussy Eaters.

Written by

Eva Lewis

Eva is a digital content expert who runs a successful women's lifestyle blog - The Multitasking Woman. Eva is an experienced social media manager, digital consultant, article writer and copywriter and has written for various publications and business websites over the years.  When Eva doesn't have her head in the digital space, she enjoys spending time with her husband, six year old son and one year old daughter, ploughing through her current favourite books in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, gardening and chatting with her chooks. 

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