A pair of researchers at the University of Colorado has found that preschool kids ate more vegetables when presented with segmented plates with pictures of fruits and vegetables on them. In their paper published in JAMA Pediatrics, Emily Melnick and Meng Li describe their study, which involved observing preschool children having lunch and changing the type of plates that were involved.
It is a well-known fact that people of all ages in the United States do not eat enough fruits and vegetables—this is unfortunate, because prior research has shown that regular amounts of both are important for a healthy body. Prior research has also shown that the foods that children eat as they are growing up can have an impact on the food choices they make as adults. For these reasons, scientists have been searching for ways to get children to eat more fruits and vegetables. In this new effort, the researchers expanded on the findings of another team that found that segmenting the plates that teenagers used for their meals caused an increase in vegetable consumption. Their goal was to find out if the same might be true for preschool-age children.