【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. smother /ˈsmʌðər/ (v.) – to cover thickly
Example: I smother peanut butter on my bread every morning.
2. preference /ˈprɛfərəns, ˈprɛfrəns/ (n.) – the state of liking one thing more than the other
Example: Kids often show preference to fruits over vegetables.
3. variation /ˌvɛəriˈeɪʃən/ (n.) – the state of having different form or condition
Example: There are two main color variations of apples—red and green.
4. sweetened /ˈswitnd/ (adj.) – made sweet, usually by adding sugar
Example: I like sweetened coffee more than black coffee.
5. sustain /səˈsteɪn/ (v.) – to keep an action going; to continue
Example: He sustained his daily exercise for one whole year.
Read the text below.
A study recently discovered that vegetables smothered with cream cheese appeal more to children.
The study involved 29 children between three and five years old. Before the experiment, researchers asked the children’s parents to fill out a survey on their children’s views on 11 vegetables. According to the survey, many of the children disliked and have not yet eaten cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Hence, the researchers used these vegetables to identify the children’s preferences.
Researchers then asked children to eat cauliflower or Brussels sprouts once a day for seven days. They ate in a group of five to six children monitored by a researcher or a teacher. The vegetables were all boiled but were served in three variations: plain, with unsweetened cream cheese, or with sweetened cream cheese.
After seven days of conditioning, the children were given plain vegetables.
Results revealed that two-thirds of the children liked the vegetables with either sweetened or unsweetened cream cheese more than the plain ones. On the other hand, only one in five children enjoyed the plain vegetables.
After the conditioning period, researchers found that more children tended to eat the vegetables even without the cream cheese. And while previous studies claim that children should try new food eight to 10 times to get used to it, children in the recent study needed only seven taste trials.
According to researchers, this strategy could work not only with Brussels sprouts and cauliflower but also with other vegetables and foods.
On another note, researcher Devina Wadhera emphasized the importance of developing healthy habits that would sustain until adulthood. And helping children develop these habits should be the parents’ job, Wadhera stressed.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Do you think that smothering vegetables with cream cheese can really be a good strategy to make children eat them? Why or why not?
· How else can we encourage children to eat vegetables? Explain.
· What do you think is the reason why children generally dislike vegetables? Explain.
· Why is it important to include vegetables in our diet?