It’s a common problem for children and their parents: The refusal to eat certain foods — mainly green vegetables — in favor of starchy or fatty dishes can lead to a nutrient imbalance and may start kids off on the wrong track in terms of diet.
Often, parents will use coercion or pressure to get their children to finish their broccoli or green beans. However, Loughborough University researchers report that there is a much more pleasant and effective way to get kids to join the Clean Plate Club.
A team of scientists examined 75 families during mealtime and observed that friendly interactions between parents and children helped to curb fussy eating.
“As many as one in four parents express concern about their child’s eating during routine pediatric checkups. Child feeding problems are an important concern which can create a great deal of stress and anxiety for families,” said lead researcher Faye Powell.
Authors of the study said that addressing nutrition and eating habits in early life may be the best strategy for getting kids to consistently eat balanced meals.