Researchers have developed a new way of getting kids to follow a healthy diet: putting more vegetables on their plates. A 4-week experiment involving 67 children aged from 3 to 5 larger portions of veggies resulted in kids chomping down 68 % more of them on average. The researcher team used corn and broccoli as their test vegetables. They were doubling the amount served from 60 grams to 120 grams to see how this would change the children’s eating behavior.
According to Nutritional Scientist Hanim Diktas from Pennsylvania State University, “The increase we observed is equal to about one-third of a serving or 12 % of the daily recommended intake for young children. Using this strategy may be useful to parents, caregivers, and teachers who are trying to encourage kids to eat the recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day.”
A similar effect has also been noticed in adults. The types of vegetables, the foods they’re served with, and whether or not the portion sizes for other foods are increased seem to make a difference. The portion sizes of the other food on the plates remained unchanged in this study. In some of the tests, the researchers also tried adding butter and salt. However, this didn’t make a major difference to how many vegetables the kids ate, irrespective of portion size. Improving their diet portion size was a much more effective strategy. This is because the veggies were liked even without salt and butter. 76% of the kids rated the veggies as just okay. According to the researcher, the choice of food is important. Milk, rice, applesauce, and fish sticks were served alongside the broccoli and corn.
According to Nutritional Scientist Barbara Rolls from Pennsylvania State University, their food was well-linked and food that was not kid’s favorite. If vegetables are offered alongside chicken nuggets, then disappointment will be there. Food pairings are something that one has to be conscious of because how palpable the vegetables are compared to the other foods on the plate will affect the response to portion size. One needs to make sure that the vegetable tests good compared to the other foods.