If you have a picky eater at home, there might be one more thing you can try.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science found that kids do actually notice — and care — how their food is presented to them, and this can influence how much of the food they eat.
It turns out, that young children are more inclined to eat when food items are kept separate from one another.
Researchers asked 100 children ages 7 to 8 and 12 to 14 to prioritize six different photos of dishes of food plated three different ways: one with food items separated; one with the food separate but ingredients mixed (like chicken with gravy touching the rice, but vegetables on the side); and another with food all mixed together.
Among the youngest age group, girls preferred foods to be separated, while the boys had no consistent preference. The older group preferred some ingredients to touch or all of it mixed.
“We didn’t have much evidence-based knowledge about how children sort and eat their food, which is very relevant when, for example, we want our children to eat more vegetables — or eat their food in general,” said associate professor Annemarie Olsen from the university’s Future Consumer Lab.
The study aimed to help parents and caregivers to get kids to eat better.
Olsen suggests that the ideal way to plate food for kids of all ages is to keep all food separate. That way, younger kids will eat the variety of foods presented, and older children have the authority to mix whatever ingredients they prefer.
Also see, Tips for safely packing school lunches.
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