September 28th, 2015
MORE than 30 million children trundle through school cafeteria lines every day in the United States and thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which took effect in 2012, they are no longer served greasy pizza, salty French fries and sauced up chicken wings. Meals must now be lower in fat, calories and sodium and contain lean proteins, more fruits and vegetables and whole grains. And kids from coast to coast are wrinkling their noses. Many experts in taste preferences say starting at school age may be too late. Research indicates that the critical period for broadening the palate is the first two years. “It’s harder to change preferences than to form them,” said Leann Birch, a development psychologist at the University of Georgia in Athens. “The reality is kids learn to eat what their parents eat, and if kids are getting something different at school, then it’s not surprising they aren’t eating it.”
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