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The Simple Trick to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies

Photograph by Twenty20

All parents know that oftentimes the feeding of children is practically the eighth circle of hell. And getting picky eaters to eat their veggies? Forget about it. And this lack of veggie-eating has become a national problem. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that a whopping nine out of ten kids still don't eat enough vegetables. So how do we fix this?

Well, scientists have discovered a simple trick that just may turn things around. Researchers at Texas A&M University were studying the food consumption of elementary school kids when they noticed a fascinating pattern. It appeared that the actual vegetables weren't the problem, it was the rest of the meal. If the veggies were served on the same plate with kid favorites like mac and cheese or chicken fingers, they often went untouched. But if they were served with something equally undesirable like a ham sandwich, more vegetables were eaten.

RELATED: Kid-Friendly Recipe: Green Chicken Fingers

The opposite is true too. If the vegetable is a starchy (aka kid-friendly), one like a potato paired with an entree, the vegetable is the one that gets eaten up first. The study notes that the pairings of entrées and vegetables are "an important consideration when assessing plate waste among elementary school children."

A total "now why didn't I think of that" solution, right? Or maybe you have and the scientists are just that—scientists and not harried parents who are about to tear their hair out at mealtime. Either way, it never hurts to try!

RELATED: 11 Crazy Reasons Kids Won't Eat Their Food

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