Fact: Kids under the age of two are more familiar with the Happy Meal than a healthy meal.

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Toddlers Eat More French Fries Than Vegetables in America

A new scientific survey shows that American toddlers ate more fries than vegetables, and many ate no greens at all
Fact: Kids under the age of two are more familiar with the Happy Meal than a healthy meal.

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Fact: Kids under the age of two are more familiar with the Happy Meal than a healthy meal.

Getting your kids to willingly eat their greens can be an Olympian challenge, but some new research may make you tighten the reins at the dinner table. A new collaborative study published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics concludes that toddlers under the age of two are more likely to eat French fries than vegetables on any given day. Even more alarming: One in four 6-to-11-month-olds and one in five 1-year-olds consumed no vegetables at all during the days surveyed.

The survey reveals what any parent knows: It’s really hard to get kids — especially young kids — used to eating fruits and vegetables when fried and sugary foods are easier to buy and are more appealing to tiny palates.

This is a concerning downward trend that began more than a decade ago: The percentage of babies and toddlers consuming canned or frozen fruits and vegetables declined 10 percent between 2005 and 2012 and the consumption of dark leafy greens among the under-two set has halved since 2005.

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"Toddlers are not necessarily going to be developmentally ready to try new foods. Toddlers are newness-averse," Dr. Annemarie Stroustrup, an associate professor with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City said in a statement. "You often have to offer a new food to a toddler up to 10 times before that toddler will accept it as something they will eat."