I've often been critical of modeling as a technique for increasing kids' vegetable consumption.
It's not that I think modeling isn't important. It's that I think modeling just isn't powerful enough.
Imagine someone telling you that the best way to teach your kids how to dress themselves is to let them "catch" you wearing clothes.
Kids need to see you eating fruits and vegetables, for sure. But they also need to learn how to taste new foods, to develop a foundation of eating a variety of foods, to become more familiar with the sensory properties of fruits and vegetables. The list of the skills kids need to learn to develop healthy eating habits goes on.
Having said that...
A new study shows that not all modeling is equally effective. So...
Parents, start eating:
- Fruit at dinner
- Green salad at dinner
- Vegetables at snack
It's not that these modeling moments are more powerful than modeling, say, eating vegetables at dinner. Rather...
Teaching children to eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day increases their total consumption.
Rather than fight with your kids to eat a few more bites of vegetables at dinner, give your kids more opportunities to eat only a few bites.
- A few bites add up across the day
- Eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day is simply the right habit
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~
Source: Draxten, M., J. A. Fulkerson, S. Friend, C. F. Flattum, and R. Schow. 2014. “Parental Role Modeling of Fruits and Vegetables At Meals and Snacks is Associated With Children's Adequate Consumption.” Appetite 78C: 1-7.