08/03/2011 16:39 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

How To Get Children To Eat More Fruit - Faff About With It...

A new study has discovered that children eat more fruit if you go to massive amounts of trouble making it look like something else.

Who'd have thought it?

Researchers apparently studied nearly 100 pupils aged between four and seven in the Netherlands and Belgium.

They found that children ate far more fruit if it was made "fun and attractive", the BBC reports.

The study, which was published in the journal Appetite, concluded that parents and schools should follow this example.

Researchers gave the children apples, strawberries and seedless grapes, changing the ways the fruit was presented.

The fruit was more popular when it was made into a hedgehog, with spines made out of cocktail sticks holding the fruit and pierced into a watermelon.

However if the fruit was just chopped up into cubes it was less attractive to the children.

The kids ate nearly twice as much of the "fun" fruit.

The researchers say supermarkets could also make fruit more attractive to children by packaging it in the same way as "Happy Meals" - with a toy.

However they said that if the same "fun" presentations were used too often they might lose their appeal.

"It is probably necessary for parents and food producers to remain innovative," they said.

Great. So we have to keep on inventing new and bizarre ways to persuade our children to eat fruit.

Dr Laura Wyness, of the British Nutrition Foundation, told the BBC: "It is advisable to try to make food as appetising as possible.

"How food looks probably does have quite an influence, especially for kids who are getting used to different types of food."

She suggested the old favourite of hiding vegetables and fruits in sauces, and said if parents don't have the time to faff around making hedgehogs they could make foods interesting in more simple ways, such as cutting it into triangles, squares or strips.

I can see how parents might be driven to making fruit hedgehogs if they get really desperate. But surely this is a last resort?

How do you get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables?

Source: BBC