Kids & Veggies: Jump 3x Before Carrots?

veggiesAn NYT blog talks about a study where participants rated carrots as being yummier after doing silly rituals like bang the table three times before they ate the orange roots. The article outlines some other study results that suggest a “food ritual,” even one as random as jumping up and down a few times, makes food seem more tasty. Researchers think the anticipation build-up is the key to adding the perceived flavor points:

“The researchers found that even simple rituals, which they defined as ‘a series of behaviors that are seemingly irrelevant to the act that follows,’ like scraping wooden chopsticks together or tapping a soda can before pulling the tab, raised participants’ interest in what they subsequently ate or drank. And rituals appeared capable of enhancing the enjoyment not just of treats like chocolate or lemonade but even baby carrots.”

This makes me wonder if I shouldn’t plan some odd tasks into the dreaded vegetable-eating portion of dinner.

We all know the drill: we make vegetables and expect our kids to eat them.  But alas, kids (and some more than others) are notorious for avoiding the bitter taste of veggies. I remember our H-town neighbors telling us that they’d try to get their kids to eat still-warm vegetables instead of waiting until the very last possible minute when the greens would be cold and soggy. Their kids waited every time though, hoping against hope that some miracle distraction would come and save them from their veggie-eating fate. It never happened. Every night turned into a royal Battle of Wills over the limp greens and roots.

We haven’t yet tried pureeing vege into desserts in this Havertownies household, but we’re pretty close. We’ve added some daily vitamins as per the pediatrician’s suggestion, but that doesn’t seem the best way to instill healthy life habits in the kids.

If you have any hints on getting kids to eat veggies, share them here or on the Havertownies Facebook Page!


Photo Credit: dumbonyc on Flickr