Segmented plates get kids to eat more veggies

SEE-August7th: Parents find it hard to make their little kids eat healthy food especially vegetables and fruits, a new research published on Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics suggests that designed plates with pictures of the recommended foods can nudge children to eat healthy.

An experiment was conducted by researchers at a preschool during lunchtime in Colorado.

“On days when kids used the plates, they served themselves nearly 14 grams more vegetables per day on average and ate about 7.5 grams more than when using their usual white plates. This means they ate an additional portion the size of a baby carrot or two,” author Emily Melnick, a doctoral candidate in health and behavioral sciences at the University of Colorado Denver said.

“Pictures on lunch plates may indicate a social norm of vegetable and fruit consumption to nudge children’s dietary behaviors in a classroom setting,” Melnick said.

Furthermore, kids served themselves with the experimental plates about 64 grams, up from 60 grams before. In addition to 55 grams of fruit, compared with 51 grams eaten before.

The study found that kids did not eat more fruits with the segmented plate, which can be “ceiling effect.” as the report described it.


“They were already consuming the majority of the fruits made available at lunchtime when we went in initially, but they were only taking about 65% of the vegetables in the bowls. So there was more room for improvement,” Melnick said.


A CDC report published earlier showed that children weren’t eating enough fruits and veggies between 2003 and 2010.

Vandana Sheth, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a dietician and nutritionist in private practice in Los Angeles said “It’s unclear if this classroom experiment could be replicated with family meals at home or lead to lasting, long-term changes in children’s eating habits.”

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