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Good luck getting your kid to eat their veggies.

July 17, 2017

If your child refuses to eat broccoli or Brussels sprouts, don't take offense—your kid isn't insulting the way you prepared these healthful foods. Instead, your tiny tot is very likely turning his or her nose up at the vegetables' hue, a recent study shows.

According to the study—a survey of 2,000 adults and kids conducted by supplement firm Healthspan—about half of children say green grub is their least favorite. (You have to admit, green veggies—even staples such as sautéed green beans—can look pretty gross if overcooked.) In fact, about half of children will refuse to eat anything green.

That's because kids (about 40 percent of them) believe that a food's color affects its taste. So, if green is a "gross" color to them—and it clearly is—then anything from an avocado to a Granny Smith apple must also taste gross, they assume.

On the flip side, adults seem to love eating green foods. "In adults, green arouses positive emotional responses, [such as] comfort and relaxation, which may be why the respondents reported choosing green foods most frequently," psychologist Megan Arroll explained to The Sun. Plus, as we age, we learn green foods pack in nutrients—a cup of spinach has more potassium than a banana, for example—and so, we can overlook its unappealing color in favor of getting its benefits.

However, both kids and adults can agree that black foods also appear unsavory. (Is there any hope for the goth food trend, then?) Adults also don't like blue and purple foods, the study shows.

Instead, it seems kids and adults are attracted to bright hues: orange and red ranked low on the most-hated color foods for both age groups, according to the study.

So, perhaps the lesson here is this: to entice your children into eating more fruits and vegetables you can both enjoy, reach for red and orange bell peppers, red apples, raspberries, carrots, and so on. And get creative with your meals, too, so that you can pack in the nutrients you both will need on your plates. (Red lentils, anyone?)