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17 September 2014
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Learning to Love Veg


How do you get your kids to eat their veg?

38% of adults will only eat 10 foods. So how do you get your children to eat something that even adults won’t try?

"peer groups are the biggest influence on young children"

Cognitive research shows that peer groups are the biggest influence on young children - if the boy next door is eating it, chances are your child will want a piece of the action.

We brought in four older child-actors to see if their influence could make our vegetable haters change their eating habits. The plan was that by lunchtime our undercover agents would have worked their magic and Isaac, a self-confessed broccoli hater, would be a reformed, vegetable-eating character.

Did it work?

Isaac’s friend Luke, who had earlier claimed to hate peas, witnessed his new found friends eating their veg and attacked his with fervour. Isaac, with a little encouragement, not only tried his broccoli but ate the entire portion without fuss. Now he’s tried it once there’s a chance he will try it again so a week later we film Isaac and his family enjoying a meal at home. Although Isaac still doesn’t like the tomato his mum encourages him to try he needs no persuasion to eat his broccoli.

So, peer groups have a larger influence on children than their teachers or parents so bring in the backup and remember- if you can get your child to try something once there’s a chance they will try it again and again until they like it.

Take a look at our Takeaway Tips on how to feed your kids

Suggested recipes from BBC Food

Sweet and sour chicken

Lancashire cheese sausages with onion gravy

Try it at home:

Are you a supertaster? Put blue food colouring on a cotton bud and swab it over your tongue. With a magnifying glass, count the number of little blue dots (taste buds) near the front of your tongue. If there are more than 20 blue dots, you have an extremely good sense of taste and could be what's known as a 'supertaster'.

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