London: A new UK survey has revealed that many mothers resort to telling white lies to their children so as to get them to eat healthy foods.
The survey found that eight out of ten mothers regularly tell their children old classics such as "carrots will help you see in the dark" or "crusts will make your hair curl".
Among the other food fibs that mothers use are, "eating spinach will give you muscles like Popeye the Sailor", and "fizzy drinks turn your teeth to jelly".
And at times they even resort to cruel claims like, "the ice cream van only plays music when it has run out of lollies".
The poll of 3,000 mothers revealed almost two thirds struggle to get their toddlers to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and on average they tell their children two such fibs a day to coax them to eat fruit and vegetables.
"Encouraging toddlers to eat new foods can be a nightmare for parents and make meal times the most stressful part of the day," the Daily Mail quoted Deneice Harwin, from Philips`` Avent parenting appliances, which commissioned the study, as saying.
"Fruit and veg tend to be the worst food in children’s eyes so it’s no wonder parents tells little fibs," Harwin stated.
The poll found that four out of ten admitted feeling guilty for lying but six out of ten said they reach a point where they do not know what else to do, and almost seven out of ten considered their children to be fussy eaters.
Some 89 percent admit they regularly worry about whether their children are getting the right nutrients, with 13 percent so concerned they have taken them to see a doctor or nutritionist.
The study also showed that eight out of ten mothers have given in when their child refused to eat a certain food.
"Parents looking for an easier time at the table should remember that the best way to get a child to enjoy eating is to interact with them and get them interested in food," child psychologist Dr Gillian Harris, of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, added.