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New Research Shows How Children Want Their Food Served

The aim of research from the Future Consumer Lab was to investigate whether children prefer their food served in a particular way and whether their gender and age make a difference with regard to their preferences.

The researchers asked 100 schoolchildren, aged seven to eight and 12 to 14 years, to make a priority list of photos of six different dishes served in three different ways:

  1. With the elements of the food presented separately so they did not touch each other
  2. As a mix of separate ingredients and ingredients that were mixed together
  3. With all the food mixed together

From the children’s prioritisation of the displayed photos, the researchers could see which presentation of the food they liked best and which serving style they least cared for. The study shows that the younger girls (aged seven to eight) prefer the separate serving , while boys of the same age do not have a preference for how the food is arranged. The research also shows that children between 12 and 14 prefer food to be either mixed together or served as a mix of separate and mixed-together ingredients.

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Tips For When Your Toddler Won’t Eat

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Adapted from Snotty Noses

Life with toddlers can be tough in so many ways, especially when they won’t eat. It is difficult for them as well as parents. They are transitioning from ‘baby’ to ‘big boy or girl’ and they have SO much to learn, especially rules, communication and language skills. It’s difficult for everyone and on top of that, their eating habits change and suddenly you have a toddler who won’t eat.

They change from ‘baby who eats everything’ to toddler who shouts “NO!” and shoves their plates away. Cups, plates, forks, spoons go flying whilst parents silently (or not so silently) scream in exasperation.

This is normal toddler behavior. It is frustrating but normal.

  1. Be Patient. It’s difficult to stay calm in the face of a screaming toddler but remember you are not alone. All toddlers scream and shout. That is normal.
  2. Keep presenting new and healthy food. It takes time for children to accept a new food. The first time they see it, they probably won’t like it. You just need to keep presenting it. (The norm is 10-15 times but some children take longer.)
  3. Toddlers tastes can change. They may love something one day and then hate it the next.  Likewise, something they have turned their nose up at may become their favorite food tomorrow.  See tip #2.
  4. Let them feed themselves. It’s frustrating and messy but exploring food is a great way for them to learn about the food and to learn how to feed themselves. If they ask for a bit of help that’s fine too.
  5. Don’t pressure them. Toddlers, like most people, don’t like to be told what to do. It will only serve to make them more stubborn. (There is lots of evidence that pressuring children to eat has adverse affects.)

For tips 6-10, visit the Snotty Noses website