Parents who are tired of begging their little ones to eat their vegetables will be pleased to know a new study may have found a hack to help. According to research just published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, segmented plates with pictures of recommended foods in each compartment led preschoolers to eat more veggies.
The small study observed 235 preschool kids in Colorado with an average age of 3.8. On days when kids used these plates, they served themselves almost 14 grams more vegetables on average and actually ate about 7.5 grams more than they do with their usual plates. That means they ate an extra portion about the size of a baby carrot or two, but when you’re dealing with preschoolers, every little bit helps.
Researchers say these plates could be a tool to nudge kids toward healthy habits early in life. “It’s a really important time period in children’s lives to experience fruits and vegetables,” explains study author Emily Melnick. And she points out that other research suggests that a willingness to try more fresh produce could be linked to a greater preference for the healthy stuff later in life.
So if you’re struggling to get your kiddos to quit griping and eat the dang green beans and broccoli already, maybe it’s as simple as swapping your go-to dinner plate for one with sections and images of the veggies on it.