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Kids Like To Choose Their Veggies, But Not Eat Them

January 7, 2010

Although kids like to choose what vegetables they want on their dinner plate, they don’t always eat them, according to Reuters.

Dr. Cees de Graaf, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, conducted an experiment to see whether offering 4 to 6 year old children their choice of a vegetable before or at dinner, or no choice, might alter the amount of vegetable the kids actually ate.

Graaf used the kids from Dutch primary schools, 156 being boys and 147 being girls. He picked eight commonly served vegetables, carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, beets, French beans, and spinach.

During restaurant meals, 110 of the kids had a pre-meal choice between equal amounts of one of two vegetables they previously said was “okay” to eat. Another 97 had a similar choice as the meal was served, while 96 had no choice and simply found a vegetable of their liking on the plate.

There was no difference noted in the amount of veggies eaten.

The report was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Kids offered pre-meal choices ate 51 grams (just over 2 ounces) of the served vegetable and kids offered at-meal choices ate 49 grams (just under 2 ounces). Those who had no choice ate 56 grams (2.24 ounces).

However, children declared unruly, ate about half the amount of vegetables when offered no choice compared with their more easy-going counterparts.

The report shows kids “enjoyed the act of choosing”.

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