Keeping children away from junk food is a difficult task for almost every parent. It is important to feed children with the healthiest possible diet so that they grow up to become healthy adults. But, children prefer fries at restaurants and red meat at buffets over the regular healthy diet.
Researchers have recommended a way to keep children away from junk foods. Placing healthy food more visible and conveniently can help children eat it and stay healthy.
‘Providing a smaller portion of the less healthy food and a larger serving of fruits and vegetables could be a realistic solution to prevent children eating junk foods.’
The findings of the study showed that most of the children chose French fries over apples when apples were presented as the default option.
"We guessed that children would opt out of a healthier default when much-loved fries were an option," said David Just from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in the US.
"We were surprised that this was the case even for a relatively attractive healthy option like apple slices," added Just.
The researchers analyzed 15 children aged from six to eight. Chicken nuggets were ordered from a fast food restaurant to see if children would opt out of the healthy option.
Half of the children were given fries with their meal and told they could exchange them for apples. The other half were given apples and said that they could exchange them for fries.
The findings showed that 86.7 % of the children who were given apples opted to swap for fries.
"A more realistic solution would be to offer a smaller portion of fries with apples and in this way, children aren't forfeiting their favorite food; they are just eating less of it," said another researcher Brian Wansink.
The study is published in the journal BMC Research Notes.