Kids (and quiet a few adults too!) don’t like eating vegetables – that’s an (almost) universal rule of life. And parents often struggle with making their kids eat more veggies. Parents use all kinds of tricks like “hiding” vegetables in food, and of course there’s always the: “You gotta eat your greens first before you can eat the dessert.” coercive approach.
Now researchers conducted a study to find out whether another simple little trick works:
If you give boring vegetables exciting names, does that make children eat more vegetables?
For example, will kids eat more carrots if they are called “X-Ray Vision Carrots”?
That’s exactly what they did at the seven elementary schools in New York which participated in the research project.
In fact, children ate TWICE as many vegetables when they were called with funny names like “Silly Dilly Green Beans” and “Tiny Tasty Tree Tops”.
By now you might be wondering who are these researchers that come up with names like that and conduct a study around it?
It’s Brian Wansink and his team, and if you’re not familiar with the work of Wansink and have any interest in the psychology of food, I highly suggest you get your copy of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think because it’s such a great book.
Oh, and just in case you’re thinking this only works with kids – not really. The X-Ray Vision Carrots might not be as effective for adults as they are for kids, but replacing dull names with more interesting and enticing ones makes you enjoy eating vegetables more too!
At it’s core, it’s a psychological tactic that is often successfully used in marketing and branding to boost sales. In fact, some of the companies employing this method the most are those selling unhealthy junk and snack foods. The good thing is: you can use the same method to make healthy eating more fun.
How To Name Vegetables To Make Them More Enticing
“It doesn’t matter what they call it. Anything that makes it sound unusual or special has impact… We find any names work perfectly fine.” says Brian Wansink in an ABC News article. “If you want to be a better cook and you only have five minutes to do it, you’re better off spending that time coming up with creative way to describe the names of the food you’re going to serve instead of spending that five minutes to make that perfect sauce.”
So it’s really not that difficult to do – just try it out 😉
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