Based on research by Havermans, R. C., & Jansen, A. (2007) by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.
Can children quickly learn to like vegetables?
Psychology researchers conducted an experiment to see. Learning how to increase your child’s liking of vegetables promotes healthy eating and results in children being less prone to becoming overweight. Initially 21 kids sipped 6 different puréed vegetables through straws from cups. After the children sipped each cup, they categorized the flavor as either liked, just okay, or disliked. They ranked the tastes from most to least liked. Next, researchers took only two flavors ranked in the middle and mixed sugar in one of the vegetables. Children sipped and swallowed from both drinks about every 5 minutes. The next day, the kids tasted the six different vegetables, all unsweetened. Again, they categorized and ranked them. Children exhibited an increase in preference and liking of the vegetables that were previously sweetened. The researchers concluded that pairing vegetables with a flavor the children already liked increased their preference.
To improve your kid’s liking for vegetables, try adding them to a smoothie. Slowly phase out any added sugar or fruit.
Havermans, R. C., & Jansen, A. (2007). Increasing children’s liking of vegetables through flavour–flavour learning. Appetite, 48(2), 259-262.