Neat Trick to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

kids eating raw veggies


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Here’s a neat trick to get your kids to eat more vegetables during a meal. Instead of offering a side of just carrots, offer a variety, for example carrots, broccoli, and sweet peas. That’s what professor Barbara Rollins of Pennsylvania State University did, with a group of 66 volunteers during a week of lunchtime testing.

The volunteers were given a pasta meal with a side of vegetables. Some received a 600 calorie portion of just one vegetable whereas others received 3 different vegetables, 200 calories each. The people eating a variety increased their vegetable consumption by 12-15%. Unfortunately, they did not eat less pasta, so their overall caloric consumption rose. More information here.

The concept though, is intriguing. Has anyone noticed a difference in their child’s willingness to eat vegetables based on variety?

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  • Emily

    This has been successful for us when packing DS8′s lunch for school. It’s generally the same thing, a rotation of 3 types: grape tomatoes, cukes, snap peas, radishes, and avocado (he loves broc and cauli, but they’re too bulky for his lunchbox). I don’t even have to provide a dip for his veggies, and most times they’re gone. The plus is that his fellow students always have commentary, and it’s gone from solid negative to a mix (especially once he showed his classmates his karate moves followed by a stellar split and then credited it all to his diet). They’re learning, and their friends are watching…

  • brooklynmom

    all well and good, but really, what busy mom out there has the time to prepare THREE different side dishes vs. one….

    • Anonymous

      It can be just as easy as preparing just one! Keep them cut up in the fridge for snacks raw or steam them all in one pot for dinner, peeling carrots and chopping up broccoli and peppers isn’t much more work than chopping a bunch of peppers or one of the others alone.

    • Yidete

      Well, do you even want to cook them? Kids eat them far better raw. Ok, you can argue that potatoes are more beneficial when cooked (however they are not harmful raw, if they haven’t been exposed to sunlight or started to sprout, have been eating raw potatoes like apples all my childhood, I just loved and still love the taste) but any other vegetable just gives them more goodies this way. And, if they have already eaten a cup of chopped up veggies before they even made it to the soup pot, be happy, it’s not a big deal if they do not eat the soup afterwards.

  • Carol

    This is a well-known effect that also is blamed for the “freshman 10″ (pounds of weight gain when eating at a cafeteria every day in first year of college) and weight gain on cruises, despite normal or higher activity level. It results in better nutrition (due to greater variety of foods/nutrients), but also can result in overeating due to more options (you’ve got to try everything!) if you don’t exercise restraint.

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