Kids Are More Likely To Eat Veggies When Mom Does Too

Are your kids picking around the vegetables in their holiday dinner? A new study suggests it might be because they saw you doing the same thing.

“What and how mothers eat is the most direct influence on what toddlers eat,” said Mildred Horodynski, a professor of nursing at Michigan State University.

Horodynski based this opinion on research involving 400 low-income women (black and non-Hispanic white) with children ages 1-3 enrolled in Early Head Start programs.

Results showed that the toddlers were less likely to consume real foods, like fruits and vegetables, four or more times a week if their mothers did not consume that amount.

“Health professionals need to consider this when developing strategies to increase a child’s consumption of healthy foods,” Horodynski. “Diets low in fruit and vegetables even at young ages pose increased risks for chronic diseases later in life.”

The study also found that children were likely to consume less than the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables if their mothers referred to them as “picky eaters.”

“Perceptions of a toddler as a picky eater may be related to parenting style or culture,” Horodynski said. “Mothers who viewed their children as picky eaters may be more lax in encouraging the consumption of fruits and vegetables.”

Horodynski also also noticed dietary differences among race: black mothers and toddlers did not consume as many fruits and vegetables as non-Hispanic whites, though a majority of all study subjects fell below recommended U.S. dietary guidelines.

If your New Year’s resolutions include meeting your family around a dinner table full of more fruits and vegetables, think about joining a local CSA, food co-op, locating a winter farmers’ market, or planning a garden.

Image Credit: Bonciz.com

115 comments

Jim Ven
Jim V7 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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federico bortoletto

Verissimo.

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Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Good article. Thanks for posting.

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Stacey E.
Stacey E6 years ago

True

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Keisa L.
Keisa Lee6 years ago

I have my 3 year old son help prepare his meals and find that he will eat more and try new things if he's involved in making it!!

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Shannon V.
Shannon V6 years ago

You can't stop trying with kids. What they eat one week they can hate the next. Mix it up, try a little new here and there and my basic rule - if they don't eat majority of their dinner there is no treat afterwards....bribery or reward? I don't care it works for me.

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Joyce Squillante
Joyce S6 years ago

Great evidence against the phrase my mom always uses, which is "Do as I say, not as I do."

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Cheryl B.
Cheryl B6 years ago

kids also eat things that they grow

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