The simple act of reading aloud positive stories about food and nutrition can boost fruit and vegetable intake in young children, according to research from Queensland-based dietitians.
Aloysa Hourigan, an accredited practising dietitian at Nutrition Australia Queensland, found the amount of fruit and vegetables eaten by children increased by one serve a day after they attended a story time session about good nutrition.
Hourigan and her colleagues conducted this research by running sessions in libraries and community organisations. I’m Having a Rainbow for Dinner, the book Hourigan created for this task, was read to about 300 kids aged 13 months to 6 years.
Hourigan and her colleagues found that after story time, children were more willing to try different fruits and vegetables. She hopes this discovery will make the notoriously difficult task of getting kids to eat their fruit and vegetables much easier.
“We all know how important it is that kids eat well and maintain a healthy weight, but the reality is it’s not always easy,” Hourigan said. “If you’re like most parents, you’ve probably struggled at some point with the problem of how to get your kids to eat their veggies.
“Using story time with parents is a positive way to promote healthy eating habits – especially fruit and vegetable intake – and food and health literacy in young children.”
Statistics from the Dietitians Association of Australia show children aren’t eating enough fruit and vegetables; only about half of children eat the recommended 2.5 serves of vegetables a day needed for healthy development.
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