If you are a parent struggling to get fruit in your kids’ diets you have probably tried the technique of sneaking fruits and vegetables in their food, or even giving the vegetables funny names which I spoke about “in the news” for our Natural Health newsletter.
According to a study done by Dutch researchers, one effective way to get kids to eat their produce is to make the food look appealing and fun. In children ages 4 to 7 years old, kids ate close to twice as much when the fruit was presented in a fun and likable way.
In the test, one group of apples, grapes and strawberries were skewered with flagged cocktail sticks and stuck into watermelon for kids to grab. The other group of fruit was just put out on a regular plate. The research team was not able to conclude why, when the fruit was more visually appealing, kids ate significantly more, especially when they knew that regardless of presentation the food would taste the same.
In the end it may not be about the taste of the fruit, but making the fruit fun for kids to eat. The research team from Maastricht University in the Netherlands wrote about the study in the current issue of the journal Appetite and stated that “Parents, schools, supermarkets and food producers should take advantage of these results and offer children fruits and vegetables that are presented in a visually appealing manner.”
Based on the study results it sounds like parents need to be more creative in the way that they serve their kids fruits and vegetables, and that should hopefully ensure they are cleaning their plates. This innovation could help to boost kids’ fruit and vegetable consumption with the daily recommended allowance being to eat 1 to 2 cups of fruit a day. Break out those cookie cutters, put on your creative hat and let’s get kids chowing down!
May 17th, 2010