Study Reveals How to Make Kids Eat Their Vegetables

Psychology shows that nutritional education is the way to go with preschoolers

A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal for the Association of Psychological Science, finally delivers on one of parenthood’s greatest battles: how to get kids to eat their vegetables.

Two scientists at Stanford University devised an experiment to test their hypothesis that children would be capable of understanding a conceptual approach to nutrition. They provided preschoolers with nutrition-themed picture books to appeal to children’s natural curiosity. The information in the books was distilled but not overly simplified, and covered topics like digestion, microscopic nutrients, and nutrients as fuel.

In some preschool classrooms, the children read these books during snack time over a period of three months. The books were not provided to the control classrooms.

Results showed that the children who had read about nutrition had a greater and more comprehensive understanding of nutrition and bodily processes. Their ingestion of vegetables during snack time increased voluntarily, while the amount of vegetables consumed by children in the control groups remained relatively unchanged.

Further research is needed to determine whether these changes will persist outside of the classroom or positively affect the children’s eating habits in the long term.