PARSIPPANY, NJ (November 14, 2012) Parents may have some new motivations to serve their kids vegetables. A new study, funded by Pinnacle Foods' Birds Eye brand and published in Public Health Nutrition, found that adding vegetables to the plate led to more positive evaluations of both the main entre and the cook. By simply serving vegetables with dinner, participants believed the main course would taste better and thought the server was more thoughtful and attentive.
"Most parents know that vegetables are healthy, yet vegetables are served at only 23% of American dinners," said lead author Brian Wansink, PhD, the John Dyson Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behavior at Cornell University. "That means we need to find some new motivations to encourage parents to make vegetables a bigger part of the meal. If parents knew that adding vegetables to the plate could make what they prepare for dinner seem more appealing, or could increase their own "heroic" appeal, then maybe they'd be more inspired to serve vegetables."
In the four-part study, Cornell researchers interviewed 500 mothers with at least two children under the age of 18 living at home. Participants first assessed the personality of women who either prepared or did not prepare vegetables with a family meal. They then rated four different meals that either included or did not include a vegetable in terms of the taste of the entre and of the whole meal. Respondents were also asked to describe the meal preparer who had served vegetables or a preparer who had not served vegetables with a meal, and then identify their favorite vegetables and the preferred preparation.
The results suggest that vegetables can play a powerful role in increasing the overall enjoyment of the meal. Across all four meals, the addition of vegetables helped increase the positive response in multiple ways making the meal seem more "complete," "loving," "tasty," and prepared with more effort o
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