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.’
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