Key to getting children to eat greens revealed…just give them a glass of water with their meal
07:17 GMT, 16 May 2012
Giving water to children with their meals helps encourage them to eat their greens, a study has revealed.
Researchers claim children who drink more water make better food choices and have a healthier appetite for vegetables.
A team from the University of Oregon in the U.S. looked at the drinks and vegetables consumed by 75 children aged three to five.
Giving children water to drink with their meals encourages them to eat more vegetables and to make healthier life choices, new research has found. Posed by model
The children ate more raw vegetables such as carrots or peppers, when they had water with a meal rather than if they had a soft drink.
Study co-author Professor Bettina Cornwell said that from an early age children learn to associate sweet, high-calorie drinks such as colas with salty and fatty foods like chips.
She said: 'Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks.
'This begins early through exposure to meals served at home and by meal combinations offered by many restaurants.
'Our simple recommendation is to serve water with all meals. Restaurants easily could use water as their default drink in kids' meal combos and charge extra for other drink alternatives.'
Going green: Research by the University of Oregon found children ate more carrots and peppers if they were drinking water at the same time
The researchers said serving water could be a simple and effective dietary change to help address the nation's growing obesity problem, which has seen increasing number of diabetes cases in young adults and a rise in health-care costs in general.
The study, published in the science journal Appetite, suggests that early palate development may influence choices later in life.
Dr Kimberly Espy, head of research and innovation at the University of Oregon, said: 'This important research has broad ramifications for how foods are marketed and served.
'Addressing the early contributors of unhealthy eating that contribute to obesity is important for our general well-being as a nation and, especially, for improving the nutritional choices our children will make over their lifetimes.'