Have you ever thought about what your face looks like when you eat in front of your children? A small French study published in the journal Obesity found that kids’ eating habits are influenced by the facial expressions and body weight of people eating.
The study compared children’s reactions to photos of people eating and had them rank their desire to eat that food. Researchers found that if the person was happily eating a food they liked, the child wanted that food, regardless of whether the eater was heavy or thin. Seeing a person eating that food with a pleasant expression made the child more open to eating that food, even if the child disliked that certain food. Children were more open to trying a food they disliked especially when the person eating it was thin. But if they didn’t like the food, their ratings of the food declined if they saw a photo of a heavy person consuming it. They were also turned off of food that people were eating with unpleasant reactions, regardless if they liked or disliked that food.
Overall, the study showed children have a complex reaction to eating preferences. They pay attention to our expressions while eating and even consider our weight.
What should you take from those findings? Having a positive attitude towards healthy food and showing children how enjoyable healthy food can be will help foster healthy eating habits in our little ones. If you want your youngsters to eat their vegetables, make sure they see you enjoying yours. Do you have a particularly picky eater? Try these tips to enforcing healthy food choices without becoming a food cop.
>> Read more: 9 After-School Snacks Kids Can Make Themselves