Providing a variety of vegetables increases intake in children

Research from Zurich has shown that when provided with a choice of vegetables children will serve themselves more vegetables than those who are offered only one choice.

One hundred Swiss children aged between 7 and 10 were assigned to one of two fake food buffets (using replica foods) containing pasta, chicken and either one vegetable (carrots or beans) or two vegetables (carrots and beans). The children were then asked to serve themselves a meal that they would like to eat from the food available.

Children who were given the choice of two vegetables served themselves significantly more vegetables than those give one vegetable choice. Interestingly they did not serve themselves a meal with a higher calorie content indicating that when provided with a choice of vegetables children chose a nutrient rich and well balanced meal. The study found that even children who reported not liking vegetables increased their intake when given variety and choice.

Similar results were reported in the National Children’s Food Survey (2011) which found that offering two vegetables at dinnertime increased vegetable intake more than offering a large portion of a single variety in children aged 5-12.

Offering children a variety of vegetables is a simple and effective strategy to boost their vegetable intake and encourage healthier meals.

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Posted: 08/11/2013 14:26:37 by Laura Keaver


 

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