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Should we play hide-and-go-seek with our children's vegetables?
Date:3/1/2012

Philadelphia, PA -- Pass the peas please! How often do we hear our children say this? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey of adolescents, only 21% of our children eat the recommended 5 or more fruits and vegetables per day. So not very many children are asking their parents to "pass the peas," and parents are resorting to other methods to get their children to eat their vegetables.

One popular method is hiding vegetables. There are even cookbooks devoted to doing this and new food products promise they contain vegetable servings but don't taste like vegetables! But this ''sneaky'' technique has been controversial, as some dietitians, doctors, and parents have argued that sneaking vegetables into food does not promote increased vegetable consumption because children are unaware they are eating vegetables, and are not likely to continue the practice into adulthood. A study in the March/April 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that informing children of the presence of vegetables hidden within snack food may or may not alter taste preference. Acceptability of the vegetable-enriched snack food may depend on the frequency of prior exposure to the vegetable.

Chickpea chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip cookies? Investigators from Columbia University enrolled 68 elementary and middle school children and asked just that question. In each pair, one sample's label included the food's vegetable (eg, broccoli gingerbread spice cake), and one sample's label did not (eg, gingerbread spice cake). Participants reported whether the samples tasted the same, or whether they preferred one sample. What the children didn't know was that both samples contained the nutritious vegetable. The investigators found that taste preferences did not differ for the labeled versus the unlabeled sample of zucchini chocolate chip bread or broccoli ginger
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Contact: Francesca Costanzo
jnebmedia@elsevier.com
215-239-3249
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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