Getting kids to eat enough vegetables can be a daunting task, but a new Pennsylvania state study found that simply adding vegetables to plates leads children to consume more vegetables with their meals.
conclusions study were published in the magazine “Appetite”.
The researchers found that when they doubled the amount of corn and broccoli served at lunch – from 60 grams to 120 grams – the children ate 68 percent more vegetables, or 21 grams more.
However, adding oil and salt to vegetables did not affect consumption. According to the official dietary guidelines for Americans set by the US Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, the daily recommended amount of vegetables for children is about 1.5 cups per day.
“The increase we see is about one-third of a serving, or 12 percent of the recommended daily value for young children,” said Hanim Diktas, a graduate student in nutritional science.
“Using this strategy can be helpful for parents, caregivers and teachers trying to encourage children to eat the recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day,” Diktas added.
Barbara Rolls, chair of Helen A. Guthrie and director of the Pennsylvania Human Immune Behavior Laboratory, said the findings support USDA’s MyPlate guidelines that recommend foods high in fruits and vegetables.
“It’s important to give your kids lots of vegetables, but it’s also important to serve them the ones they like because they have to compete with the other foods on the plate,” Rolls said.
“Parents can make this easier by gradually introducing new vegetables to their kids, preparing them the way their kids like them, and experimenting with different flavors and seasonings as you introduce them,” Rolls added.
Most children in the United States do not eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, according to the researchers, which may be due to the fact that children are not overly fond of them. And although serving large portions has been found to increase the amount of food children eat – this is called the “portion size effect” – children tend to eat fewer vegetables in response to larger portions compared to other foods.
For this study, researchers were curious if increasing the amount of vegetables simply while maintaining servings of other foods would help increase the vegetable intake of children. They also wanted to experiment with whether adding light oil and salt to vegetables would enhance their palatability and affect consumption.
For the study, the researchers recruited 67 children between the ages of three and five. Participants were served lunch with one of four different types of vegetables once a week for four weeks: a regular serving of corn and regular-sized broccoli, a regular serving with butter and salt, a double serving of plain corn and broccoli, and a double serving of butter and salt.
At each meal, vegetables were served along with fish sticks, rice, applesauce, and milk. The food was weighed before and after meals to measure consumption. “We chose foods that were generally liked by everyone, but were also not the favorite foods of the kids,” Rolls said.
“If you offer vegetables along with, say, chicken nuggets, you might be disappointed. Food pairing is something you need to keep in mind, because how tangible the vegetables are compared to other foods on the plate will affect how you react to serving size. “You have to make sure your vegetables taste pretty good compared to other foods,” Rolls added.
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that while large servings of vegetables were associated with higher intake, the addition of oil and salt was not. The kids also reported that they like both flavored and unflavored versions in about the same way. About 76 percent of children rated the vegetables as “tasty” or “just okay”.
“We were surprised that oil and salt were not needed to improve consumption, but the vegetables we served were corn and broccoli, which may have already been familiar and loved by the children,” Diktas said. “So, for less familiar vegetables, perhaps some additional flavoring can help boost your intake.”
Diktas said that while serving large portions can increase vegetable intake, it can also lead to increased waste if children do not eat all of the food served. “We are working on additional research to replace vegetables with other foods. instead of just adding more vegetables, ”Diktas said.
“In the future, we may be able to make recommendations on portion sizes and vegetable substitutions to reduce waste and encourage children to consume vegetables,” Diktas concluded.
This story was published from the news agency tape without text changes. Only the title has changed.