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Want your child to eat healthier?

Have you been trying to get your child to eat vegetables with no success? That’s probably because you do not tell them why they should actually eat the vegetables.

According to the study, Child-Centered Nutrition Phrases Plus Repeated Exposure Increase Pre-schoolers’ Consumption of Healthful Foods, but Not Liking or Willingness to Try, by Washington State University (WSU) and Florida State University (FSU), telling children benefits that they can relate to, of the foods they eat can help them make healthy choices as opposed to repeatedly giving the food without conversation.

Parents have used many tricks to get children to eat.

In my childhood days, it was mandatory to take porridge every morning before going to school. If it were up to us, we would have bread instead. But my mother had made it clear that you only ate bread when you had taken your porridge. Needless to say, we’d be full after gobbling down the porridge.

Mum didn’t give us reasons for her approach until years later. She said porridge was both nutritious and filling than bread with tea. Allowing us to have bread for breakfast would mean we got hungry much sooner and she did not want our learning to get affected.

Now, had she given us that reason then, it would have, as shown by the study by WSU and FSU, made it a lot easier for us to take the porridge. In their study, children who got messages such as ‘’eat your lentils if you want to grow bigger and run faster”, were much more accepting of healthier food than those who were told nothing.

As a matter of fact, they ate twice as much of the healthy food when they knew the benefits of eating a certain food.

So rather than fight your children every meal time, how about you tell them why they need to eat that food.


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Christine Nderitu

As a licensed Nutritionist and Public Health Practitioner, Christine, helps people lead healthy lifestyles through education and behaviour change practices that are simple and practical. Her area of expertise lies not just in nutrition management but in health education and promotion in HIV/AIDS, Adolescent Health, Maternal and Child Health as well as Non-Communicable Diseases, which she has engaged in for a decade. She is also a columnist in a leading local Daily. Christine has a keen interest in Non-Communicable Diseases prevention and control. She feels that the world needs more stories that celebrate and normalize desired (good) behaviour, and humanity. “We have many preventable and often manmade public health issues today.”