A clever way to get people to eat their vegetables
Getting people to eat more vegetables can be a tricky thing, but research now shows there may be an effective way to do it: rebranding.
According to a 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that people consume more vegetables when labeled with more indulgent names that would typically be used with decadent foods.
Researchers conducted the study at a university cafeteria, where they labeled the vegetables in four categories: basic, health restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.
They found that by adding more flavorful, exciting, and indulgent descriptors to vegetables, they were able to increase overall vegetable consumption. For example, using an indulgent name like “Twisted citrus-glazed carrots” had more consumption than just the basic name “carrots.”
Elizabeth Zawila, a registered dietitian at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill. says she is not surprised by the results. “It seems logical that people more often choose the foods that are labeled in a desirable fashion because they are expecting something unique and flavorful,” she says. “Often times, vegetables are more of an afterthought to our meals.”
Vegetables are an important part of our daily diet and should be incorporated into our meals, Zawila says. She encourages people to aim for five to nine servings of combined fruits and vegetables per day. She recommends two to four servings of fresh fruit and five to seven servings of vegetables.
Here are some helpful suggestions from Zawila to incorporate more vegetables into your diet:
- Purchase different pre-made salad mixes.
- Branch out and try different blends of frozen vegetables.
- Try new fresh produce that you may have never tried before.
- Make homemade vegetable soups.
- Try new recipes that incorporate vegetables.
- Replace starch with vegetables (ex: cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, cauliflower “mashed potatoes”).
Zawila finds the key to increasing vegetable consumption is through adding variety to your meals and finding what food combinations you like.
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