My Child Eats Vegetables! - ONIE Project

My Child Eats Vegetables!

Posted by ONIE Project on 05/27/2015

ONIE Project Tips for Healthy Eating with Picky Eaters

We all know that children should eat more vegetables but alas children often refuse, which can lead to not serving vegetables because food is too expensive to waste! How can we get children to eat vegetables?

One proven strategy has been to sneak vegetables into foods we know they like. For example, add grated carrots to spaghetti sauce and children will never notice. Now researchers have discovered a new strategy that is easy to do, serve vegetables first without other food items.

ONIE Project Tips for Healthy Eating with Picky EatersResearchers conducted field experiments in an elementary school [1]. Children were offered a cup of carrots in one experiment and a cup of broccoli in another. Both times children ate more vegetables when they are served before other foods. In fact, these children ate four times more carrots when served before the meal than when they were served along with the rest of the meal.  

You can conduct your own field experiment and try serving vegetables before the rest of the meal. Vegetables, cooked or raw, could be served at the table like an appetizer. It would also be easy to hand your child a cup of vegetables that are tasty raw while the rest of the meal is cooking. Cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, and zucchini are good raw and can be eaten like a snack.  

We would love to know the results of your home experiment. Post a comment and tell us whether your child will eat more vegetables if served first before the rest of the meal.

 The ONIE Project Team

1. Redden, J. P., Mann, T., Vickers, Z., Mykerezi, E., Reicks, M., and Elsbernd, S. (2015). Serving first in isolation increases vegetable intake among elementary schoolchildren. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121283. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121283.

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