Every parent knows how hard it is to get kids to eat their greens. Everyday we hear about how beneficial vegetables are, especially when the person in question is developing and growing. Despite this, it often seems impossible to get kids to eat their veggies.
Luckily, science has the answer.
In a recent study conducted by Deakin University’s Centre for Advanced Sensory Science, the researchers looked at how many vegetables children ate when they were either whole or diced.
The results, published in the journal Foods, were surprising: Contrary to popular belief, the kids ate more when the vegetables were whole.
To reach this conclusion, the kids were given a 500 gram box of prepared, whole carrots on the first day, and instructed to eat as many as they would like.
On the second day, they then gave another 500 gram box of carrots to the same children, but this time they were diced, and once again asked to eat as many as they would like.
They found that the kids actually ate 10 percent more when the carrots were whole, as compared to diced.
Whilst it is pure speculation at this point, the researchers suggest this is due to "unit bias". This is defined as the "tendency for individuals to want to complete a unit of a given item."
Dr Gie Liem, senior lecturer at Deakin University, said in a statement: "In this case, children consumed one whole carrot (one unit) when presented with whole carrots, suggesting that once children started eating a whole carrot they were likely to finish it."
It's not just vegetable consumption that these results may impact. Dr Liem believes that by reversing this method, we may be able to improve the diet of children.
When serving unhealthy food, for example, it may be possible to satisfy a child by either dicing or reducing the size of each piece.
So whilst we may not have a miracle method of making your kids love their vegetables, you can use this trick to at least increase the amount they eat without them knowing any different.
Parents – you’re welcome.