Putting more vegetables on children’s plates encourages them to eat more vegetables in the future

Putting more vegetables on children's plates encourages them to eat more vegetables in the future

A new Penn State study found that simply adding more vegetables to their plates resulted in children consuming more vegetables at mealtime.

Specifically, when the amount of corn and broccoli served at a meal doubled, from 60 to 120 grams, the children ate 68% more vegetables, or an additional 21 grams. However, seasoning vegetables with butter and salt did not affect consumption .

Children between 3 and 5 years old

For the study, the researchers recruited 67 children between the ages of three and five . Once a week for four weeks, participants were served lunch with one of four different vegetable preparations: a regular-size serving of corn and broccoli, a regular-size serving with added butter and salt, a double serving corn and broccoli and a double serving with added butter and salt.

During each meal, vegetables were served alongside fish sticks, rice, applesauce, and milk. Food was weighed before and after the meal to measure consumption .

As Barbara Rolls , president of Helen A. Guthrie and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, explains:

We chose foods that were generally liked by the children, but were not the favorites of the children either. If you offer veggies alongside, say, chicken nuggets, you might be disappointed. Food combinations are something to be aware of, because the palpability of the vegetables compared to the other foods on the plate will affect the portion response. size. You need to make sure that your vegetables taste quite good compared to other foods.