Secret to instilling a love of fruit and veg in young children revealed

Katy Morton
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Children are more likely to eat the food on their plate if there are seven different items and six different colours, finds a new study.

 

Researchers from Cornell University in America and London Metropolitan University presented 23 children and 46 adults with full-size photos of 48 different combinations of food on plates. Each plate had varying numbers of items which were arranged differently.

They found that the children preferred the plates with more elements and colours and if items of food were used to create a pattern such as a smiley face or heart-shape.

In contrast, the adults were most attracted to the plates with only three items and three colours.

The authors of the study suggest that the research will make it easier for parents to encourage their children to eat more nutritionally diverse diets.

They conclude, ‘While most research concerning food preferences among children and adults focuses on taste, smell and chemical aspects, this study builds on findings that demonstrate people are significantly influenced by the shape, size and visual appearance of food that is presented to them.

‘What children find visually appealing is very different than parents. Unfortunately, when parents plate food for children, they do it in a way that is appealing to them and not to their children.

‘The findings provide more evidence that young children aren't just "little adults". In other words, we shouldn't assume that they share our views of the world.’

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