Vegetables at Dinner and Perceptions of the Meal and the Cook

By Alexandra Williams, MA on Feb 17, 2013

Do you want your kids to perceive you as a lovable and talented dinner chef? Try adding vegetables to the nighttime meal. In a recent study, published online by Public Health Nutrition (2012 [1–7]; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980012004673), researchers discovered that meal preparers were rated higher on qualities such as “loving,” “thoughtful,” “attentive” and “capable” when they included vegetables with the meal.

In one part of the study, participants evaluated the tastiness of the entree and the entire meal. When vegetables were included, the food received higher ratings. For example, steak by itself was rated as a 7.00, while steak with broccoli scored 8.08.

In the second part of the study, participants evaluated the personality of the unknown cook who either did or did not include vegetables with the dinner. Cooks who served vegetables were seen as less “lazy” and better at “making the meal,” both for the experience and for the taste quality. The nonvegetable chefs scored 7.00 for “loving” and were rated higher for being “neglectful,” “selfish” and “boring,” while those who included veggies scored a 7.92 for “loving.”

With over 70% of vegetables consumed at dinner, and only 23% of dinners including vegetables, it may be time to intentionally link popularity with healthful veggies!

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Alexandra Williams, MA

Alexandra Williams has taught fitness for 17 years and has a master’s degree in agency counseling, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Her professional training has forced her to scrutinize her own value system, especially as she attempts to raise ethical children. The author wishes to thank Jack Raglin and Jim Gavin for their helpful insights and suggestions.

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