Advice abounds about how to get kids to eat healthier foods, but what really works? The author of Deceptively Delicious suggests hiding veggies by pureeing them and adding them to other more palatable dishes. Some experts suggest modeling healthy eating, talking about healthy foods, and engaging kids in food preparation.
But the answer might be even easier, according to recent research by Cornell scientists. In one study, preschoolers ate two-thirds as many carrots as usual when teachers called them "x-ray vision carrots" -- and the kids continued to eat more carrots than usual the next day.
Researchers say that caregivers can capitalize on psychology to influence kids' eating habits. In schools, for example, cafeteria workers could give healthy foods fun names (dinosaur broccoli trees, anyone?), prompt kids to choose healthier foods, and feature healthier foods prominently. The authors have started a website http://www.smarterlunchrooms.org/.
One of the study authors, Brian Wansink, recently published "Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think."
Here's an interview with him, posted on youtube: