Parents worry. It’s just a fact. And one of the most well-known of all the parental worries is how to get kids to eat their vegetables. A new study aims to answer that question. Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus looked at the types, and prevalence, of baby foods in the U.S. And what did they find?
To start with, the researchers found that baby foods (as a whole) don’t provide the variety of veggies that kiddos need to develop their veg-loving palettes. The article, which is in the current issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stems from a database (that the researchers built) of 548 baby and toddler foods that span more than 20 different brands.
The researchers used the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s vegetable categories to examine the ingredients in each of the baby/toddler foods. They found that only 52 of the options were single-veggie foods.
But the research didn’t stop there. Of the multi-ingredient foods, which seemed to be the norm, 37.8 percent had a fruit as the number one ingredient. If that doesn’t seem like a significant number, vegetables only topped the ingredient list in 23.7 percent of the foods. And those were the sweet red/orange veggies, such as sweet potatoes or carrots. When it came to dark green veg ingredients, these were only listed first in 1.1 percent of the foods.
What does this mean for your kiddo? If your tot has already started solids, chances are that you know babies typically prefer sweet tastes. Serving up multi-ingredient foods that are more sweet fruit than anything else might not give kids the early exposure to bitter tastes that they need to develop. This could lead to a distaste for veggies later on.
So, the answer here seems to be that parents should pay attention to what’s in their baby’s food and start serving up the veggies. Go kale!
What do you think about this research? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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