Findings from a new Australian study showed children will eat vegetables without too much fuss, but it all comes down to the way they’re served.

Researchers at Deakin University’s Centre for Advanced Sensory Science tested their theory on a control-group of 72 primary-school aged kids, reports Daily Mail.

Each child was given a 500g box of peeled carrots on one day, and the same amount of diced carrots on the next, with 10 minutes to eat as much of the veggie as they liked.

Of the two trials, carrots served whole, rather than diced, proved to be the more popular choice, with kids choosing to eat the vegetable for longer, said Dr Gie Liem, a senior lecturer from Deakin University.

‘On average this meant they ate about eight to 10 per cent more of the whole vegetable, by weight, than when given diced carrots to try.

‘This is easier for parents too, as they can just put a whole carrot in the child’s lunchbox.’

The study backs up previous research that suggests the more you have on your plate, the more you want to eat.

‘Potentially these results can be explained by unit-bias, in which a given unit creates a consumption norm, which tells consumers how much they should eat.

‘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. Dr Liem said.

Not only can this ‘hack’ be used to get children to eat more vegetables, Dr Liem said the reverse can be applied to unhealthy foods too.

‘For example cutting up a block of chocolate in smaller pieces reduces chocolate consumption.’

Do you think this trick will work for you?

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  • Definitely interesting research. I know how food is served and looks influences how much I eat of it. But I’ve also been a big believer in serving my kids fruit & lots of different veggies since they went to solids. I’m lucky my kids will eat just about anything. They’re used to having salad with dinner. One of my 3 can be picky but if I cut a veggie a different way she’ll eat it, so maybe there is some merit in this research. I love the idea of giving whole foods to my kids when they’ve been capable and safe to eat the whole. They tend to prefer this. But I think if they’ve always had veggies and fruit then they’ll eat them no worries because they don’t know the difference and don’t know there’s not another alternative!


  • lol they might eat it all or they will bring home a whole carrot. This is a handy little trick to keep in mind though.


  • Sliced carrots cut lengthwise like schools suggest you put in your child’s lunch box actually goes dry. Some toddlers won’t eat much apple as they don’t like to have to chew though the skin. You also have to remember the the seeds in apples are poisonous.


  • The kids eat even more if they pick it from the garden and wash it with the hose themselves.


  • Definitely something I will have to try!!


  • A great idea to get the children eating veggies more!


  • Will have to try it.


  • Luckily I’m blessed with kids who love their veggies, they always finish their plate !


  • That’s so interesting. I do think that how food is presented affects how much we want to eat. However, I’ve never thought of it in terms of eating a ‘whole’ of something.


  • I agree with this, and growing a veggie garden has helped for us too!

    • Making a garden and teaching children how to grow vegetables is such an incredible life skill.


  • we only have trouble when buggaluggs knows what dessert is on offer!


  • We all like vegetables – so thankfully no vegetable battles in this household.


  • It looks very reasonable. It functioned with apples with my daughter. She ate more if I gave her a whole apple instead of an apple cut in 4 pieces. So maybe the carrot would have had the same effect.


  • thankfully my kids love their veggies regardless of how they’re served


  • Good to know. Maybe I’ll consume less chocolate if I cut it into little pieces. Nah!


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