Parents of picky eaters are constantly looking for ways to encourage their little ones to eat healthier, and more veggies. As per a recent study it seems like it’s all in the plate! Recent research revealed segmented plates that had pictures of healthy food options within each compartment had preschoolers gobbling up their vegetables (and more of them … willingly).
The study showed that on the days kids used the specially-designed plates, they ate close to 14 grams more veggies than on days when regular white plates were used, which was 7.5 grams.
As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, kids aged four to eight should have a recommended serving of one-and-a-half cups of vegetables each day, maybe even more depending on how physically active they are. While 7.5 grams does not equal out another serving of veggies, it is hard to ignore that the kids willingly ate more veggies; a habit that could progress to a healthier lifestyle as they grow later in life.
CNN advised that the company “MyPlate” offered up the design for the plate, and while it is not clear why the kids took more veggies on those days, a strong indicator just might be the visualization linked with the compartment layout.
The study was conducted in an Arvada, Colorado preschool and involved 235 kiddos in and around three years of age. Interestingly enough, while the kids ate more veggies with the plate, they did not eat more fruits.
A CDC report conducted between 2003-2010 has revealed that children, in general, were not eating enough veggies and fruits during this time, but fruit did take an upward turn at that point in time.
Past research has also indicated that market techniques like commercials or banners have increased the chances of kids reaching for veggies at lunch as well.
It’s all good and great if your picky eater is inspired to consume more greens; however, what if the plate tactic has no effect? If all else fails, you may want to add a little pressure. And while in the past, many parents were apprehensive to do this as it might have a negative effect, another recent study revealed that pressuring your picky eater won’t have any effect, negative or positive, on them. Here’s hoping that whatever a parent tries, the long term effects are good ones!