TIME Science

You Can Teach Kids to Eat Vegetables, Says Science

Even artichokes have hearts

Parents, listen up! (Conversely: Picky preschoolers beware).

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Leeds finds that young children can, in fact, learn to like vegetables. During the experiment, each of the 332 children (aged between 4 and 38 months old) was given between 5 and 10 “exposures to a novel vegetable”—i.e., fed one of three variants of artichoke puree: basic, sweetened or “added energy” (added vegetable oil).

By the end of the experiment, one in five of the children cleared their plates, while two in five had learned to like artichokes. The researchers also found that sweetening vegetables didn’t have a significant effect on how much children ate as compared to their consumption of the basic puree.

Dr. Marion Hetherington of the University of Leeds, the lead scientist on the study, told the BBC, “if you want to encourage your children to eat vegetables, make sure you start early and often.”

You can find the study in full here—should you need to whip out some scientific evidence to convince your toddler that vegetables are pretty cool.

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