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This research examines how serving vegetables with family dinner influences perceptions of the meal and the cook.
For the study, 500 mothers from a national online panel were asked to rate their taste experience when served 5 different meal combinations. Some of the meals included vegetables while some did not. During the study they were also asked to read two “day-in-the-life” scenarios. The first described a working mother that did not serve vegetables with the family dinner, the second described a mother who did serve vegetables. After reading the scenarios, participants rated the woman described on a number of personality qualities.
This study found that any inclusion of vegetables in a meal, either fresh, frozen, or canned, increased the taste perception of that meal (P <.001). In terms of the “day-in-the-life scenarios”, the mother that included vegetables with the meal was rated as more loving, thoughtful, and selfless than the mother that did not include vegetables (P < 0.05).
Serving vegetables with a meal makes a parent seem more loving while enhancing their perceived cooking skills. This can be used a useful tool to promote vegetable consumption at the family dinner table. Public health messages should look into motivating the self interest of parental cooks everywhere.
Wansink, Brian, Adam Brumberg, and Anu Mukund (2015). Want to be Seen as More Loving and a Better Cook? Serve Vegetables to Your Kids. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47(4), S45. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2015.04.119