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Kids Eat More Vegetables With Bigger Portions

Serving larger portions may increase young kids’ vegetable consumption.

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Dad helping young daughter eat more vegetables

Most parents agree that it can seem like a Sisyphean challenge to get their young kids to eat more vegetables, but a study in Appetite suggests a fairly easy solution that will result in them eating more of this vital food group.

Investigators at Pennsylvania State University found that simply adding bigger portions of veggies to the serving plates of children ages 3–5 (while keeping portions of other foods the same) resulted in them consuming more vegetables at a meal. When the amount of corn and broccoli served at a meal was doubled from 60 to 120 grams, the kids ate 68% more of the veggies. Interestingly, seasoning the vegetables with butter and salt did not affect consumption.

The majority of U.S. children don’t eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, at least 1.5 cups, so this portion-size tactic could be an easy remedy to help kids eat more vegetables. Perhaps in the future, youngsters will even ask for seconds of spinach.

See also: Vegetables: A Bitter Pill to Swallow

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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