Startling research has shown that 95 per cent of Australian children are not eating enough vegetables.
According to a report from the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most kids don't have diets which meet national guidelines for junk food and vegetable consumption, with the introduction of junk food too early in life credited as the chief reason for the diet decline.
The study monitored parent groups in Melbourne, and found that babies were eating enough fruit and vegetables at nine months, their diet rapidly declined after this.
Fast-forward to 18 months of age and 95 per cent of kids aren't getting enough veggies into their diet, with the ease of giving a child a biscuit or quick snack attributed to the increase.
According to national recommendations, children less than two years old should not eat junk food regularly.
However, the study found that 90 per cent of children in this bracket were frequently eating junk food, and old pre-schoolers are eating portions much larger than is recommended for these discretionary foods.
One tip is to spread vegetables across the day, instead of planning to load them on at dinner time.
Another is to be aware of how much children mimic the behaviour of their parents, so attitudes around food should be adjusted to create a positive environment. For example, treat fruit and vegetables as a daily snack with the same enthusiasm as you would junk food.