Mums and dads have to resort to “rewards” four times a week on average – and most parents regularly hide fruit and veg in their kids meals
Image: Ute Grabowsky/Photothek/Getty Images)
Parents are persuading their children to eat healthily by rewarding them with extra time on a games console, eating in front of the TV and a later bedtime.
A study of 1,000 mums and dads, of children aged three to 12, found seven in 10 have hidden fruit and vegetables in their youngster’s meals and do so on average three times a week.
Another 83% have “rewarded” them with treats to get them to eat healthily – including a pudding (23%), allowing them to play on their parent’s mobile phone (18%), and inviting friends over on the weekend (14%).
The typical week sees mums and dads resort to “rewards” on four occasions.
More than a quarter (26%) believe their rewards always work – but nine in 10 have been caught out by their youngster when attempting to hide ingredients in food.
The research was commissioned by Dolmio® as part of the launch of its new 7 Veg Pasta Sauce, which includes two of your five-a-day in every serving.
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Parents struggle an average of four times a week to get their kids to eat healthily and over half (51%) admitted their child always wins when it comes to not wanting their five a day.
But when they do succeed, 78% feel a huge sense of accomplishment if their youngster eats healthily without making a fuss.
Among the stories parents have told their little ones to encourage them to eat fruit and vegetables were carrots will make you see in the dark (48%), an apple a day keeps the doctor away (40%), and runner beans make you faster (32%).
Sian Dixon, for Dolmio®, said: “The struggle between child and food is something all parents experience and, as a brand, we’re committed to enabling the UK to enjoy dinnertimes that are easy and delicious.
“We know many parents are looking to provide healthy meals, but that isn’t always easy with fussy eaters.
“It’s interesting to see how many mums and dads already hide healthy ingredients in meals as a way to ensure their children get all the nutrients they need.
“We hope to help the nation’s parents and stop dinnertime drama. Our 7 Veg pasta sauce is packed full of seven vegetables, and every serving provides two of your five a day to help parents cook delicious family favourites with a healthy twist.”
The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found children start to become fussy with their food aged five.
And vegetables are the most difficult food types to encourage kids to eat, followed by legumes, chickpeas, lentils – and fish.
Ute Grabowsky/Photothek/Getty Images)
Common problems mums and dads have faced when trying to feed their family healthily include children handpicking ingredients out of meals (36%) and tantrums (30%).
More than two-thirds (68%) avoid cooking their own favourite meals because of how fussy their child is.
But 44% worry their own picky habits have influenced how their youngster perceives their food.
Despite their fussiness, children’s favourite vegetables were found to be carrots, peas and broccoli.
Indu Gurung, project manager at Peas Please – a Food Foundation initiative committed to making it easier for everyone in the UK to eat more veg – said: “Increasing veg consumption is a win-win, as eating more veg has multiple health benefits and is better for the planet.
“As a business that has pledged to increase veg consumption, as part of the “Peas Please” initiative, we are delighted to see Mars Food launching new products that help get more veg onto the plates of people across the UK.”
TOP 20 WAYS PARENTS REWARD THEIR KIDS FOR EATING HEALTHILY:
- Ice cream
- A pudding
- Extra time on their game console
- A sweet treat after school
- Extra time on their tablet
- Letting them eat in front of the TV
- A new toy
- Getting an extra sticker on their reward chart
- A trip to the park
- Letting them have my mobile phone to play a game/watch videos
- Letting them off doing house chores e.g. tidying their room, clearing their plate away after meal time
- Going to bed later than usual
- Letting them watch a TV show/series they’ve not been allowed to
- Letting them choose what we eat for the next meal
- Letting them watching their tablet while they eat
- Saying they can buy anything they want at the shops
- Letting them choose how they spend the weekend
- Inviting friends over to play on the weekend
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