Pairing vegetables with a liked food and visually appealing presentation: promising strategies for increasing vegetable consumption among preschoolers.
Sommaire de l'article
Vegetable consumption among preschool children is below recommended levels. New evidence-based approaches to increase preschoolers' vegetable intake, particularly in the child care setting, are needed. This study tests the effectiveness of two community-based randomized interventions to increase vegetable consumption and willingness to try vegetables: (1) the pairing of a vegetable with a familiar, well-liked food and (2) enhancing the visual appeal of a vegetable.
Fifty-seven preschoolers enrolled in a Child and Adult Care Food Program-participating child care center participated in the study; complete lunch and snack data were collected from 43 and 42 children, respectively. A within-subjects, randomized design was used, with order of condition counterbalanced. For lunch, steamed broccoli was served either on the side of or on top of cheese pizza. For a snack, raw cucumber was served either as semicircles with chive and an olive garnish or arranged in a visually appealing manner (in the shape of a caterpillar). Paired t-tests were used to determine differences in consumption of meal components, and McNemar's test was performed to compare willingness to taste.
Neither visual appeal enhancement nor pairing with a liked food increased vegetable consumption. Pairing increased willingness to try the vegetable from 79% to 95% of children (p=0.07). Greater vegetable intake occurred at snack than at lunch.
Further research should explore the strategy of pairing vegetables with liked foods. Greater consumption at snack underscores snack time as a critical opportunity for increasing preschool children's vegetable intake.