Sunday, June 10, 2012

Getting kids to eat their veggies...

Turns out that water will get kids to eat more veggies than soda (and other sweet drinks such as juice)

Our survey study lends empirical support to the notion that young adults do indeed hold strong drink and food combining pref- erences. While plain water (bottled or from the tap) pairs reason- ably with most foods, soda is perceived as clashing with cooked and raw vegetables but pairing very well with foods such as French fries and pizza. This finding across young adults allows for the pos- sibility that early, learned preferences contribute to adult con- sumption patterns.
In the lab study, children’s acceptance of raw vegetables was re- lated to the type of drink consumed, and was not an outcome of their general fussiness regarding eating. This finding reiterates what was learned in the survey study. Vegetables offered in com- bination with a sweetened beverage are not looked upon as favor- ably as vegetables offered in combination with water. This finding points to a variety of behavioral change strategies that might be employed to encourage healthier eating among young children.

Two possible hypotheses for this: 1. the tastes of sweet soda or juice and the slightly bitterness of some veggie clash, or 2. kids have learnt from marketing that soda goes with certain foods - think Happy Meal...

Link to the research study abstract:
(Hint: if you want to see the  full paper and don't have access, try sending the author an email and asking them to send you a copy!)

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