Veggies; What They Don't Know Can't Hurt Them

Increase vegetables helps kids avoid obesity and diabetes

(RxWiki News) For some reason, most kids are completely grossed out by healthy foods - especially vegetables. But it's important that they get enough, and here’s how to get the job done.

Hiding vegetables is controversial. Some parents think it's deceptive to hide vegetables, while others believe there's no harm. A recent study might provide some relief for parents who don't want to trick their kids.

"Mix some cauliflower into mac-and-cheese."

Lead author, Maureen Spill, a post-doctoral fellow in nutritional sciences from Penn State, and fellow researchers found that vegetable-enhanced dishes are just as likeable as non-enhanced recipes.

The study included 39 children ages three to six. The researchers swapped out foods that were familiar to the children with new vegetable-rich dishes on three separate days.

The researchers added a variety of vegetables that included broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes and squash to help boost the regular recipes with more vegetables. They found that children who ate the enhanced dishes were able to double their daily vegetable intake and reduce their calories by 11 percent.

Spill says that hiding vegetables in children's entrees and providing side dishes is a sure way to increase vegetable intake. It doesn't have to be about tricking kids; it's more about opening their eyes to the better tastier side of vegetables that they normally don’t see in whole vegetables, Spill adds.

The research is published in The Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Review Date: 
July 29, 2011