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Getting kids to eat their veggies calls for … more veggies?

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University Park, PA — Serving larger portions of vegetables may be a way to make sure your child eats the recommended daily amount, results of a recent study from Pennsylvania State University suggest.

Researchers from the university’s food science and nutritional sciences departments served lunch to 67 children ages 3-5 in child care centers once a week for four weeks, varying portions sizes of broccoli and corn from 60 grams to 120 grams. Results show that when the children were given the larger servings, they ate 68% more of their vegetables.

“The increase we observed is equal to about one third of a serving or 12% of the daily recommended intake for young children,” Hanim Diktas, a graduate student in nutritional sciences at PSU, said in a press release. “Using this strategy may be useful to parents, caregivers and teachers who are trying to encourage kids to eat the recommended amount of vegetables throughout the day.”

 

The results also show that adding butter and salt to the vegetables wasn’t necessary – the children said they liked both versions about the same.

According to federal nutrition guidelines, the recommended amount of vegetables for children is approximately 1.5 cups a day. A downside of the study findings, the researchers point out, is that increasing portion sizes can result in more food waste.

The study was published online April 6 in the journal Appetite.

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