How to cure a fussy eater: Children who eat in a ‘mindful’ way like fruit and veg considerably more 

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How to cure a fussy eater: Children who eat in a ‘mindful’ way like fruit and veg considerably more

  • Researchers suggest asking youngsters to close their eyes to eat vegetables
  • Parent and child should then have discussion about eating the vegetable or fruit 
  • Study found kids who ate like this for five weeks liked fruit and veg more after

Every parent knows what a struggle it is to get small children to eat their greens. A new technique, however, could help end those dinner table tantrums. 

Researchers suggest asking youngsters to close their eyes, take a deep breath, put an item such as a green bean in their mouth and eat it slowly, while noting how it tastes and feels in their mouth. 

Parent and child should then have a discussion about eating the vegetable or fruit. A study found that children who ate in this ‘mindful’ way for five weeks liked fruit and veg considerably more afterwards than they did before. 

Researchers suggest asking youngsters to close their eyes, take a deep breath, put an item such as a green bean in their mouth and eat it slowly, while noting how it tastes and feels in their mouth (stock image)

Researchers suggest asking youngsters to close their eyes, take a deep breath, put an item such as a green bean in their mouth and eat it slowly, while noting how it tastes and feels in their mouth (stock image)

Researchers in the US recruited 24 children with an average age of three for lessons including mindfulness. 

As well as eating thoughtfully, the children performed activities such as making a salad or remembering the fresh produce they had been shown on a tray. 

After five weeks of the lessons, the children were given an apple, carrot, tomato, green bean and some rocket to taste and rate from ‘yummy’ to ‘yucky’. 

After five weeks of the lessons, the children were given an apple, carrot, tomato, green bean and some rocket to taste and rate from 'yummy' to 'yucky' (stock image)

After five weeks of the lessons, the children were given an apple, carrot, tomato, green bean and some rocket to taste and rate from ‘yummy’ to ‘yucky’ (stock image)

They liked the foods significantly more after practising mindfulness. 

Not only that but they were better at self-control, making them less likely to reject or spit out food. 

Dr Sara Schmitt, a co-author of the study from Purdue University, Indiana, said: ‘Children experienced significant gains in their behavioural regulation and in their liking of fruits and vegetables.’ 

Mindfulness may help children become more aware of foods and think about them more, according to the study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour.

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