Is it a daily struggle for you to make your two-year-old have vegetables? Well then, you are not alone. According to a new study in the UK, almost one in five two-year-olds has never even tried a vegetable.
The survey, commissioned by British baby food firm Ella’s Kitchen, revealed that some parents get tired of the daily battle and stop trying all together. As a result, it is estimated that more than 30,000 toddlers in the UK are not getting any of their five a day.
Studies have shown if a child’s problem is short-term, it is unlikely to do any harm, but long term refusal to eat a diet containing calcium, protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre could stunt development.
The study suggests introducing a variety of vegetables during the early stages of weaning as this is associated with increased acceptance of foods then and later in childhood.
Experts encourage parents to persist, even when it looks like they don’t like a certain food.
Dr Lucy Chambers, British Nutrition Foundation, said: “This review highlights that familiarising infants with a wide variety of vegetables during the early weaning period is positively associated with increased acceptance and intake of these foods in later childhood.”
Mark Cuddigan, managing director of Ella’s Kitchen, said: “We know that introducing a variety of vegetables during weaning helps steer little ones towards a taste for vegetables which stays with them throughout childhood and beyond, with all the associated health benefits.”
The study is published in Nutrition Bulletin.