Researchers from Cornell University have found a way to help parents who struggle to get their kids to eat healthy food, especially vegetables.
The trick, according to the researchers, lies in introducing the food item by a more descriptive and attractive name like "X-ray vision carrots" instead of "carrots".
The study was based on more than 140 students between the ages of 8 and 11. Carrots were added to the school lunch menus for three consecutive days. On the first day, carrots were unnamed; on the second day, they were labeled as the "food of the day" while on the third day they were labeled as "X-ray vision carrots."
The researchers found that 66 percent of the carrots were eaten when they labeled "X-ray vision carrots" compared to 32 percent, when the carrots were named "food of the day."
Previous studies have shown that not only children but adults too like to eat foods that have descriptive names.
In another part of the study, the researchers renamed broccoli as "Power Punch Broccoli" and beans as "Silly Dilly Green Beans" in one school's lunchroom while a neighboring school acted as a control and the names of these foods were unchanged.
The researchers found that, compared to the control school, sales of these vegetables were up by 99 percent while buying in the control school declined by 16 percent. Cornell University researchers had earlier reported that associating healthy foods with superheroes like Batman and Superman would get more children interested in eating these foods.
Another study suggests that children's preference for food presentation is different from that of adults. They prefer foods of varied colors on the plate while adults prefer to have just three colors on the plate.