Is your child not a fan of vegetables? Scientists reveal the one thing you can do that could change this (and it won't cost you a penny)

New research suggests that we're more likely to like vegetables if we see someone liking them too. But does this theory apply to children too?

Mum with child on her lap broccoli on a fork encouraging him to eat it and smiling
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Parents, time to start putting on brave faces and stomach those veggies you would otherwise turn your noses up at if you want the kids to like them too.

Mealtimes are a common battleground between parents and kids, especially when it comes to getting your little ones to eat their veggies. Parents are constantly pondering how to get their families to eat more fruit and veg as well as working out how they can serve regularly healthy family meals - it’s certainly a minefield. 

Fortunately, according to the latest study conducted by Aston University, researchers have found evidence that watching someone else visibly dislike vegetables could negatively influence your preferences, which applies to children too.

"If a child sees their parent showing disgust while eating vegetables, this could have negative consequences on children's vegetable acceptance," said Dr. Katie Edwards, a researcher at the Aston University School of Psychology and lead author of the study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Getting children to eat vegetables is a daily battle in most households, especially when it comes to dinner time, however, this research suggests that if your child sees you enjoying your vegetables with positive facial expressions, they’re more likely to give them a try and in tow, enjoy them too.

Close up of a little girl staring at a plate of broccoli

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the study led by Edwards, over 200 young women watched a video containing clips of different adults consuming raw broccoli. "We show that watching others eating a raw vegetable with a negative facial expression reduces adult women's liking of that vegetable, but not their desire to eat it,” said Dr. Edwards. "This highlights the power of observing food dislike on adults' eating behaviour.”

The research proposes that behaviours are more likely to be imitated if positive consequences are observed. So, put on those smiles, and let’s get your little ones eating their greens this dinner time. Of course, that’s after you try to convince them to sit down at the table first. It’s an ongoing battle…

Looking for more ways to encourage your kids to eat their veggies? Another study recently revealed an unexpected food item that could help your child to tuck in.

Wondering what veg is in season this month? Our seasonal food calendar has got everything you need to know about which veg, fruit, meat, and fish are best bought this time of year. And for those of you looking for recipe inspiration, our vegetable recipes have a great range of ideas from soups to roasted veggies, to stews, and more.

Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies