It may sound simple, but researchers at Texas A&M University have found a way to encourage kids to eat their vegetables — make everything else on the plate less appetizing. It’s been previously found that kids will eat more fruits and vegetables if you pay them, but you might just have to adjust what is on their plates.
The study was published in the Scientific Research Publishing journal and surveyed about 8,500 children. The researchers found that kids ate their vegetables depending on what they were paired with. If the entrées served with broccoli, spinach, or green beans were chicken nuggets or burgers, the kids would not eat the vegetables. But, if the entrées included something less appetizing like deli sliders or baked potatoes, the children ate more vegetables.
“Pairings of entrées and vegetables are an important consideration when assessing plate waste among elementary school children,” the researchers noted in the article.
The researchers gathered the information by looking at plate waste in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program.
They also found that when the vegetables were paired with starchy, fried foods like French fries and tater tots, the kids were less likely to eat vegetables. The least popular vegetables are steamed broccoli and dark-leafy greens.