Breakthrough in the battle of the broccoli

Forget aeroplanes and choo choo-ing, smile at your children and they’ll eat their greens, says study

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We’ve all tried hiding vegetables in pasta, soups and mystery stews, but getting kids to eat healthily is quite simple, apparently – just smile.

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Experts at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research studied the reactions of children (aged between 5 and 8) to pictures of women eating various types of food. Kids as young as 5 were more willing to try vegetables if they saw an adult clearly enjoying them, reports The Telegraph.

Simply seeing an adult enjoying food triggers the same feelings in part of the child’s brain, known as the prefrontal cortex. Recreating a parent’s emotions suggests children are susceptible to the emotions of others, details the report published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.

Healthy eating habits among children are currently failing to meet recommendations, according to the World Cancer Research Fund. A whopping 80% of boys and girls don’t get five portions of fruit and veg, although on average, girls do better, eating 3.3 portions a day to boys’ 3.1 portions.

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