Making children eat their veggies is one of the biggest challenges face by parents. But scientists say that children eat more vegetables when the meals are tasty. The findings provide an encouraging sign in the battle to fight childhood obesity.
Researchers conducted their study during the 2011-2012 school-year among 14 elementary and middle schools in two urban, low-income school districts in Massachusetts. A total of 2,638 children were part of the study. Researchers found that the children ate up to 30% more vegetables when school meals were made more palatable with the help of a professional chef. But it also found that the presentation of fruits and vegetables did not have a long-term impact on children's consumption.
Juliana Cohen, Harvard University, and the lead author of the study, said, "The results highlight the importance of focusing on the palatability of school meals. Additionally, this study shows that schools should not abandon healthier foods if they are initially met with resistance by students."
Prof Eric Rimm, Harvard, University, and senior author, said, "The findings really illustrated that through persistence, school-aged children can learn to like healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables, especially if they taste good."
The research appears online in the Journal of the American Medical Association