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Is There a Scientific Reason Why Kids Don’t Like Vegetables?

Hey kids – the next time you want to skip the spinach or bypass the broccoli at supper, just tell your parents it's not your fault, it's evolution.

Popular Science
Kids find vegetables bitter as they have more taste receptors than adults; this is a product of evolution, as it was safer to avoid bitter-tasting unfamiliar plants that could be poisonous.
Kids find vegetables bitter as they have more taste receptors than adults; this is a product of evolution, as it was safer to avoid bitter-tasting unfamiliar plants that could be poisonous.

explains that as a species, we spent our early days without any guide for what to eat except our mouths, and since poisonous plants taste bitter, it made sense to choose sweet-tasting things over veggies. It's even worse when you're young, because that's when you have the most taste receptors. When you combine that with a good sense of smell, you start to understand why kale and cabbage do not compare to pizza or ice cream. Basically, it's about survival.

Even though we can now zap the zucchini in a microwave to make sure it comes out perfectly cooked, that doesn't mean it passes muster with the little ones. They just want to eat what they know is good – and safe. The Washington Post says the finickiness is at its worst between the ages of 2 and 6; after that, we start losing tastebuds and turning toward turnips ... maybe.

Veggie trivia:

  • It might feel solid and sound crunchy, but a carrot is almost 90 percent water.

  • Although botanically, tomatoes are fruits, they are considered "culinary vegetables." When classifying them as vegetables, they are the world's most popular and widely consumed, representing 17 percent of all the veggies grown globally.

  • Healthline lists spinach as the healthiest vegetable, partly because one serving has 56 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and all necessary vitamin K.

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    • Kids find vegetables bitter as they have more taste receptors than adults; this is a product of evolution, as it was safer to avoid bitter-tasting unfamiliar plants that could be poisonous.
      By: photophonie
      Kids find vegetables bitter as they have more taste receptors than adults; this is a product of evolution, as it was safer to avoid bitter-tasting unfamiliar plants that could be poisonous.