Picture a parsnip...

In an inspired investigation, British researchers have found that showing pictures of unfamiliar foods to toddlers makes them more open to trying them.

One year olds in the study were exposed to pictures of certain fruits and veggies. After a period of two weeks of exposure to the pictures, they were offered a plate containing those and others. They consistently chose the ones they had seen in the pictures.

Of course, marketers have been using a similar technique on older kids and adults for years. Show us a hamburger and chips often enough, and it’s just about all we can think of eating. In America, according to nutrition expert Dina Rose, 80% of toddlers eat vegetables, but most of them favour chips as the veg of choice.

Getting fussy toddlers to try a new food is the ultimate prizefor parents frustrated by some toddlers fixation on a small group of accepted foods. New textures can be a problem, especially for babies who were weaned solely onto smooth bottled baby foods and never moved on to foods with a chunkier feel and more varied tastes.

Accepted wisdom is that if you offer a child the same food 10 to 15 times, they will eventually try it. But most of us give up putting the butternut onto the plate after the 8th time of scraping it off the floor.

If this showing pictures lark works, there is new hope for frustrated parents. And maybe I should start showing my 10-year-old pictures of friendly, delicious-looking green peppers.

Could work? Won’t work.

Read more by Adele Hamilton

Have you had any success with showing your toddler pictures of food and them eating said food? Or do you think it’s all just a lark?

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