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Kids and Vegetables

Baby Wellness: Kids Don't Like Veggies That Bite

As a child I could never get enough crowns — not the kind other lasses loved, but artichokes. I hope my tot has a taste for them too. Though I may need to be patient as the majority of children have a distaste for bitter vegetables. A new study from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found:

A gene called TAS2R38 may be responsible for children's aversion to bitter tastes. . . The study included 143 children and their mothers, and over 79 percent of the children had one or two copies of the bitter-sensitive gene present. Interestingly, the presence of the bitter-sensitive gene made a bigger impact on the children's food preferences than their mothers. The mothers tastes seemed to be influenced more by race and ethnicity than the children.

If your youngster shies away from bitter greens, dress them up with butter and cheese or offer them sweeter veggies until the phase passes.

Join The Conversation
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
ha... thanks for clarifying that caterpillergrl! hah... and i will attest to it not being easy to get these lil guys to eat bitter veggies.... we're STILL trying to get a green puree past him. he puked the green beans, loved the carrots & the sweet potatoes... tried the peas... and YUP... he puked em! two spoonfuls & he gags himself into pukin it up... DRAMATICALLY no less. it'll happen (whether he likes it or now) we're going to yellow (squash) and red (beets) next... i cant keep feeding him orange, he'll wind up lookin like an ooompah loompah
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Ah this is such a pet peeve of mine. If the kids don't like it, they don't freaking like it. Making them eat it is just going to cause them torment and I don't really know that it is ever successful at making the kid like a food. If your kid doesn't like brussels sprouts, there's a good chance he'll like broccoli! I agree with Greggie though, every food should be tried. As long as there is no pressure to eat if the kid doesn't like it!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I still won't eat many vegetables. I had to as a child and the aversion grew worse and worse. I get my vitamins other ways. My kids are required to at least try what's on their plate, but not forced to eat it. They each have some they eat and some they won't. I certainly won't drench them in fat and defeat the purpose, which would only mask the taste anyway. Masking the taste won't get someone "used to it" or encourage a phase to end.
jJuliet jJuliet 9 years
I love(d) artichokes too! I always thought they were very sweet, not bitter at all. I also went through a phase where I would only eat green things, which apparently included mostly lettuce, broccoli, and apple juice dyed with green food coloring.
jessielynn657 jessielynn657 9 years
My boyfriend is 26 years old and refuses to eat any fruits or vegetables. I wish his parents had the balls to do something about his 'phobia' early in life. I don't care if it was with butter or not. It's sad to watch a man refuse to it a carrot or peach because its 'scary'.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
both of those never came true
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
To get me to eat veggies, my dad would say "itll put hair on your chest" and i ate them. later he would say "Itll make big boobs"
menomena menomena 9 years
I second caterpillar's comment. Also, if the study has determined that genetics influence the youngsters' aversion, you'll be waiting quite a long time "until the phase passes". What kind of advice is that? I will say, though, that aversion to foods is definitely a product of upbringing as well. I had an aunt tell me, as a tot, "Peas are yucky! Spit them out!" as I was eating them. I am told this story often, I obvs don't remember the event, but I still can't stand plain green peas! Snap peas are another story...
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
If my kid doesnt like bitter greens, i will feed them non bitter greens not drench them in fat and calories to mask the taste! I loved artichokes as a child as well as brussel sprouts and spinach and other veggies children should hate I also ate Liver.
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