Vegetables on the plate that scare children

The little ones, when they stand in front of a plate of vegetables, if everything goes well, they turn up their noses, if things go badly, they deny it by shaking their heads. This is the biggest obstacle that most parents have to face at the table. And this is what examines and explains the cover story “The child & the salad. How to get children to eat vegetables”, which you will find in the new issue of Salut on newsstands on Thursday 28 July with your newspaper.

The secret to convincing children

So what’s the secret to getting kids to eat more vegetables? He writes it in his report, Giulia Masoero Regis: Give them a prize every time they taste a bite, increasing their willingness to test new products. The proposal comes from an experiment carried out on almost 600 asylum children by Dutch researchers from the University of Maastricht, who spoke at the European Congress on Obesity last May to provide new ideas on how to improve pediatric nutrition. However, despite the success of the experiment, according to psychologists and pediatricians, the behavioral reward mechanism is not the most suitable for the developmental age.

Fresh and light: an outdoor snack for the little ones

by Giulia Masoero Regis



The Ismea study

According to an Ismea survey dated 2016, the most recent on the subject, seven out of ten parents declare that their children eat fewer vegetables than they would like. Some blame it on taste, others on too long times (which often do not exist in the family) to prepare a good vegetable-based dish, others on the unappealing appearance of certain types of vegetables and on the hammering advertisements that push children especially towards snacks, snacks , sandwiches and ice cream. But there is obviously more.

The evolutionary reasons

Behind the little ones’ aversion to vegetables are not only whims and picky behaviour, but also evolutionary reasons. The book explains it Guide for hungry brains (The Assayer, 2021), remembering that our ancestors left us neophobia, it is a mechanism by which, in the first years of life, we doubt whether we should consume something we have never seen or eaten, because we think it may be dangerous . Experts explain that children “have a predisposition to red-colored food and a sweet taste, and an aversion to green-colored and bitter-tasting foods.”
And they add: “Brussels sprouts, broccoli and artichokes are the vegetables that are more difficult to taste because of their bitter taste, while carrots, courgettes, tomatoes, green beans and squash are among the favorites for their sweet or neutral taste”.

Better zucchini and carrots

Pediatricians insist: “During weaning, the introduction of vegetables should take place from the sixth month of life with at least two portions a day”. And they advise: “Better to start with zucchini, carrots and green beans, but there are no vegetables to avoid, because they are all sources, each in their own way, of essential micronutrients for the child’s well-being”. So what can be the strategy to use to entice the rebellious child to accept vegetables on his plate with a smile?

This is how you do it

If reward, insistence or punishment are ineffective methods from an educational point of view, Rosanna Schiralli, psychologist and psychotherapist, creator and coordinator of European projects on emotional education, suggests preparing vegetables by imitating the shape of recipes that children love and creating an active engagement. “So the carrots take the form of chips, while the pressed spinach becomes hamburgers – he says -. When the children get older, you can go shopping and cook together, or ask for an opinion on the taste, which stimulates the description of taste .For fun, we can also connect the consumption of vegetables with the powers of the children’s favorite characters, as was once done with Popeye, or create games in the moment of taste.

Vegetarian diet only for children under medical supervision. The risk is underweight

by Elena Bozzola



Insomnia is female

But the new issue of Salute also offers insight into other topics, such as insomnia, which Elisa Manacorda falls to the feminine. Assuming that insomnia is not only difficulty falling asleep, but also staying asleep in a continuous and restful way, or having a sleep characterized by early awakenings more than three times a week for more than three months. And it is a disorder that women suffer from significantly more than men. “10% of the world’s population suffer from chronic insomnia, with a prevalence in women that increases with age until reaching a ratio of 1 in 3 after menopause,” he explained. Rosalia Silvestri, neurologist and head of the Sleep Medicine Center at the University of Messina. But when it comes to sleep, there are many differences between men and women: in the quality of sleep, in its duration, in its latency (ie the number of minutes it takes to fall asleep, which in women is longer).

Interview with the “media guru”

Finally, Salute interviews two important characters: the first, met by Gabriele Beccariais Frank Rose, who directs the Seminar in Strategic Storytelling at Columbia University in New York and is a prolific anthropologist, author and journalist. In short, he is a “media guru”: He explains to students, especially managers and entrepreneurs, that those who cannot tell the right stories at the right time are not going anywhere. Also a doctor with the patient and vice versa the patient with the doctor. “People always react to other people,” reflects Rose, who presented her latest essay at the Turin Book Fair: The sea we swim in (Issue code).

Genetic inheritance

The second interview, signed by Irma D’Ariais entitled “The Reykjavík Man” and features Kari Stefansson, Icelandic neurologist, founder and CEO of deCODE Gnenetics, based in Reykjavik, now owned by American biotech company Amgen Reykjavik. Stefánsson, aged 73, heads the largest genetics laboratory in the world, the same one that has mapped the genomes of 175,000 Icelanders (out of a population of 366,000 people) in the last 25 years.
After teaching neurology and neuroscience at Harvard University and heading the neuropathology department at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Stefánsson decided to return to his homeland and start his scientific adventure by founding the Reykjavík-based biopharmaceutical company that uses bioinformatics , statistics and artificial intelligence for soldering. the secrets of the human genome, in search of the links between genetic variants and the predisposition to the most common diseases, such as cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes and cancer. With the ultimate goal of developing innovative drugs for their treatment and prevention. He started by wanting to read the DNA of Icelanders, and today he has data from over 2.5 million people.

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