Cheese Sauce Isn’t the Only Way to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

A recent Penn State study finds that flavored dips influence kids’ vegetable consumption

How many children, four to eight years-old, eat the recommend number of vegetable servings every day?

According to the associate director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Penn State, Jennifer S. Savage, less than 10 percent. And as if that weren’t bleak enough, over one-third consume zero (as in, zero) servings on an average day.

In response to these statistics, Savage and a group of colleagues recently conducted a study to test a method to inspire kids to eat their vegetables. The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, concluded that children were three times more likely to eat vegetables when paired with a flavored dip.

Children were asked to rate carrots, cucumbers, celery, green beans, red peppers, and yellow squash as either “yummy,” “just okay,” and “yucky.” They most liked the vegetables when served with reduced-fat spiced dips, flavored as “pizza” and “ranch.” The “herb” and “garlic” options didn’t fare as well.


For a collection of flavorful — and vegan! — vegetable dips, click here.