Monday, April 13, 2015
For any child, vegetables are the least attractive part of the diet. A big exception to this rule is the starchy vegetable potato. Usually avoided for fears of weight gain, health experts congregated at a recent symposium begged to differ. They suggested few points to jack up the vegetable consumption in children: it is ok to feed 3-5 year olds with starchy vegetables, expose them to vegetables at least 8 to 12 times and ensure mealtime discipline.
The symposium covered many research subjects such as the influence of maternal and developmental factors on vegetable consumption among preschoolers, nutrient requirements from vegetable intake in preschoolers, satiety and glycaemia index (GI) modulation and ways by which diet quality could be improved among preschoolers. These results would be reported in the journal Advances in Nutrition.
Vegetable consumption among children is a major issue and strategies to counter this trend are important especially in the light of upcoming 2020 Dietary Guidelines. The experts observed that US children meet or exceed recommendations for certain nutrients stated in the 2010 dietary guidelines, but a definite shortfall was observed for potassium, fibre and vitamin D.
In addition to that, children prefer starchy vegetables such as potato over other vegetables. When experts looked at the effect of starchy vegetable consumption on GI, they found it to be an unreliable indicator for satiety. Although potatoes rank high on GI, when children consumed a meal with mashed potato, they ate 30% fewer calories. On the other hand, consumption of French fries resulted in lowest post meal glucose and insulin concentrations.
Additionally, potatoes cooked in any form also helped meet the requirements of shortfall nutrients. Since they are preferred by children, including starchy vegetables in the diet could be a good strategy to help them eat vegetables.
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