Cauli-power bid to conquer tastes

The West Australian

Three quarters of families would buy more cauliflower if it were not for their children, a CSIRO study reports.

"Getting kids used to vegetables early in childhood has shown to be an effective way to increase their enthusiasm for cauliflower, while also encouraging healthy eating habits that flow through to adulthood," says AUSVEG design team coordinator Kurt Hermann.

The study also showed that children who were exposed to vegetables at an earlier age were more likely to try new foods and find a greater enjoyment of food in general. Teaching the importance of high vegetable consumption is a win-win for both parents and the health of their children.

Biologically, children are wired to prefer sweet and energy-dense foods which explains the resistance that parents often experience at dinner time.

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"Tips for parents include avoiding short cooking times of cauliflower and preparing it with other ingredients to help reduce bitterness. A cheese sauce drizzled over steamed cauliflower is apopular tactic that kids love," the horticultural body spokesman said.

"The study also recommended the creation of cauliflower floret snack packs combining differentcoloured cauliflower varieties for young children. Having a visually attractive and convenientlypackaged product makes life easier for parents trying to get their kids interested in vegetables," Mr Hermann said.

"Overcoming taste aversion early in childhood is important in raising a happier and healthier society, as well as supporting long-term retail growth for the vegetable industry," said Mr Hermann.

The research project has been funded through HAL using the National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.

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