65% of kids turn up their noses at veg because of taste, texture and smell

23/11/2009 - 00:00
Every parent and school caterer knows that getting children to eat vegetables can be challenging, however research from the makers of Dairylea Dunk Pots has found that people are becoming increasingly imaginative. Here are some of the findings of the survey.

Celery tops poll of least loved veg in the Midlands whilst Broccoli is the biggest turn-off in London One in five children in the North West blame school dinners on their hatred of veg Strictly come veg: one in three parents in the North East insist their children stay at the table until they've eaten all the veg, making them the strictest parents in the country Fancy a bowl of moonsquirters and sunshine drops? Parents in Northern Ireland top poll of vegetable re-branders Eat your greens to become a superhero: Half of parents in Scotland tell kids their veg contains magic powers Less than 1 in 3 parents in Yorkshire give children veg as a snack or in their lunchbox everyday Over half of the parents questioned (52%) have claimed that every day veg contains magic powers or super strength in a bid to get their children to eat it. With 65%of children turning up their noses at vegetables because of their taste, texture or smell, parents today have admitted to employing a wide range of tactics to encourage them to eat their greens. 'Re-branding' vegetables with far-fetched names is a common theme with some of the imaginatively used pseudonyms including mini footballs (sprouts), sunshine drops (sweet corn), moonsquirters (tomatoes) and clouds (mashed potatoes). Yet despite increased creativity in the home, less than one in five (18%) parents insist that their child stays at the table until they have finished their plate, a stark contrast to their own childhood experiences where more than three-quarters (84%) had no choice when it came to eating the greens on their plate. Parents in the North East are the strictest with nearly a third (30%) insisting their kids remain seated until they've finished their food, compared to less than one in ten in Scotland (8%). Interestingly just over a third (37%) of youngsters under the age of 12 are given vegetables as a snack or in their lunchboxes everyday. Nearly three-quarters of parents surveyed (73.8%) believe celebrity role models, cartoon characters and sportspeople have the greatest influence on their children when it comes to eating veg. Another technique is simply to allow children to choose what veg they want and how they want to eat it. Nearly three-quarters of parents surveyed (73%) encourage their kids to eat vegetables by adding a sauce, or dunking them in a child-friendly dip such as soft cheese. A quarter (24%) of children in the East of England choose the dipping option making them the biggest dunkers in the country, with youngsters in London coming a close second (22%). Parenting coach Judy Reith, said: "A child's dislike of vegetables is often emotional not rational, so the more creative or enthusiastic parents can be with the food on the plate the more responsive the child. Encourage your kids to dunk vegetables in other foods, like houmous or cream cheese as it's a lovely interactive way to make meal times more fun." Dr Rana Conway, independent nutritionist, continued: "It is good to see parents turning away from the 'stay until you clear your plate' tactic, as this is never going to make kids love vegetables." "We know most kids don't get their five-a-day, but the best way to get them eating more vegetables is to have family meals. You can also get them involved in growing vegetables, choosing them in the shops, or planning a meal and helping to cook."

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