Here's How To Get People To Eat Their Veggies, According To Science

A new study out of Stanford University reveals that using "indulgent" descriptors when describing vegetables makes them more appealing to consumers.

It's a problem that's plagued parents for decades — how do you get your kids to eat their veggies?

But as it turns out, it's not just an issue for children. According to an NBC News report in 2015, only about 18 percent of Americans are eating their daily share of fruits and veggies. So the question becomes an even bigger one to answer.

Luckily, scientists think they've found the solution.


If you opened a menu and saw "dynamite chili and tangy lime-seasoned brussels sprouts," would you be more inclined to order them? What about compared to "heart-healthy brussels sprouts?"

A new study published by Stanford University's Psychology Department in JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that people find vegetables 23 percent more appealing if they're described with more "indulgent" labels, Mashable reported. 

Researchers changed the labels of vegetables available in a cafeteria over the 46 days of last fall's quarter, which equates to about 28,000 total diners. They used indulgent ("rich buttery sweet corn"), basic ("corn"), healthy restrictive ("reduced-sodium corn"), and healthy positive ("vitamin-rich corn") labels.

When veggies were labeled as healthy restrictive, an indulgent label had a leg up — they were 33 percent more likely to be chosen by diners. While this isn't a sure thing when it comes to getting everyone to eat more fruits and veggies, we may see the labels of our foods slowly begin to change, even in grocery stores. 

So, would you like a side of twisted garlic-ginger butternut squash wedges with that burger?


Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters 

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