“You’ll sit there until you finish your peas, young man!”: Update, 2012

Since time began…

I don’t know what it is about kids and vegetables. As I learned from personal culinary experience with child #2, it’s sometimes easier to get them to eat sand (with gusto) than green beans. Now I know where I went wrong. Maybe it’s not too late for you…

The secret? Smile when you eat your own veggies! That’ll make your youngsters, who are very sensitive to adult emotions, more likely to dig into their own heap o’ Swiss chard.  At least that’s what an article in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology says.

Researchers showed kids pictures of adults eating with happy and disgusted faces, and found that their young subjects were more willing to give veggies a try after viewing the happy, veggie-eating grownups. Their analysis:

“Adults may unconsciously influence children’s food preferences via their facial expressions of pleasure or disgust.”

Which raises two questions:

1) In the whole history of the world, nobody thought of this before?

2) If we show kids pictures of adults gagging on Milk Duds, will they start demanding spinach?

Wrong.

The researchers didn’t specify the type of smile that works best, but it can get tricky. No telling what effect the wrong veggie-grin might have on impressionable children.

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