Kids’ favorite vegetables are broccoli, corn and green beans. Frozen meal eaters get more vegetables including greens, beans and whole grains but with lower total calories vs. fast food restaurant eaters, says new data unveiled at this week’s 2014 Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, April 26-30. There are so many tips for picky eaters who are young children. But what happens to picky eaters when they’re older adults? Is it eating by habit? Or eating what can be chewed by soft, weak, or missing teeth?
You can check out one of the many studies or their abstracts on how to get kids to like and eat vegetables, such as, “Favorite children’s vegetables by meal and age.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2012. Authors are Wansink B, Brumberg A, Shimizu M. That study’s abstracts explains that if a parent claims “My kids don’t eat vegetables,” they may be giving up too easily. They might want to serve vegetables that are childhood favorites and meal-vegetable combinations that are most popular.
In another study, “How vegetables make the meal: their hedonic and heroic impact on perceptions of the meal and on the preparer. Public Health Nutrition, November, 2013, researchers reveal that nearly 70% of vegetables eaten in America are eaten during dinner, yet only 23% of American dinners contain a full serving of vegetables. Nutrition appeals have not greatly increased intake of vegetables. Authors are Wansink, B., Shimizu, M., and Brumberg, A.
The big picture in these studies revealed new hedonic and heroic motivations for serving vegetables: One study showed how vegetables increase the hedonic appeal of the meal, and another study revealed that vegetables increase the heroic appeal of the cook.
More vegetables are likely to be served with a meal if preparers know that the addition of vegetables makes them appear to be both a better cook and a better person, explained the abstract of the study, “How vegetables make the meal: their hedonic and heroic impact on perceptions of the meal and on the preparer. Public Health Nutrition.”
In an older study by different researchers, presenting analysis of data from the 2003-2010 What We Eat In America (WWEIA) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that consumers of frozen meals (1) compared to consumers of quick service restaurant (QSR) meals (2) had lower calorie intakes and better Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score. In fact, the analysis revealed that those who consumed frozen meals consumed 253 fewer calories than those who consumed a quick service restaurant meal.
(1) Defined consumption of any of 91 specific frozen meals
(2) Defined as obtaining meals from “restaurant fast food/pizza”
These results were presented at a scientific poster session at the Experimental Biology Conference (EB) April 26-30, 2014
“The analysis shows consumers of frozen meals come a little closer to meeting Dietary Guidelines for Americans than consumers of quick service restaurant meals, and they do it with 253 fewer calories a day,” said Dr. Victor L. Fulgoni, according to the April 30, 2014 news release, “Frozen meal eaters get more vegetables including greens, beans and whole grains but with lower total calories vs. fast food restaurant eaters.” Fulgoni is co-author of the analysis and vice president of Nutrition Impact, LLC.
Specifically, the analysis revealed that those who consumed frozen meals, when compared to those who consumed QSR meals, had significantly:
- lower calorie intake (2073±51 kcal/d frozen meal consumers vs 2326±20 QSR consumers)
- higher total Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score (53.0±1.5 frozen meal consumers vs 44.4±0.4 QSR consumers)
- higher intakes of total vegetables (3.4±0.1 frozen meal consumers vs 2.9±0.03 QSR consumers)
- higher intakes of greens and beans (1.7±0.2 frozen meal consumers vs 0.9±0.04 QSR consumers)
- higher intakes of whole grains (2.9±0.3 frozen meal consumers vs 1.8±0.1 QSR consumers)
- higher intakes of total protein foods (4.4±0.1 frozen meal consumers vs 4.1±0.03 QSR consumers)
- lower intakes of refined grains (6.6±0.4 frozen meal consumers vs 5.4±0.1 QSR consumers)
- lower intakes of empty calories (13.1±0.5 frozen meal consumers vs 9.9±0.2 QSR consumers)
“We are excited about the results of this study as it shows that frozen meals can play an important role in helping Americans meet the US Dietary Guidelines,” said Kim Krumhar, Ph.D., according to the news release. Krumhar is Scientific Advisor – Nutrition, Nestlé.
The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a benchmark to evaluate the quality of calories consumed, and is recognized as a measure of diet quality in terms of conformance to Federal dietary guidance. It is used to monitor the quality of American diets; to examine relationships between diet and health-related outcomes and between diet cost and diet quality; to determine the effectiveness of nutrition intervention programs; and to assess the quality of food assistance packages, menus, and the U.S. food supply. More information about HEI is available at the Healthy Eating Index website.
As the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, Nestlé is committed to working with nutrition, health and wellness professionals to help consumers enjoy meals they love while also meeting US Dietary Guidelines. Balance Your Plate with Nestlé is an educational program that highlights the important role frozen prepared foods can play in helping Americans meet US Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate recommendations for healthy eating patterns.
Frozen, ready-made entrées are a source of pride for Nestlé. They are freshly made and simply frozen. Nestlé cooks prepare a wide variety of frozen dishes with care, making key ingredients – like pasta for our iconic lasagna or macaroni and cheese – from scratch. Then the food is frozen to help lock in nutrients and provide convenience for easy enjoyment at home or at work. The company also works continually to improve the nutritional profiles of its products by featuring positive nutrients such as whole grains, calcium, Omega-3s and antioxidants and by reducing nutrients like fat and sodium. Nestlé USA supported the study.
About Experimental Biology
Experimental Biology (EB) is an annual conference organized by six scientific societies. This meeting brings together the leading researchers from dozens of life-science disciplines. The societies represented at the meeting will be: the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), the American Physiological Society (APS), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).
For more information and links to the Experimental Biology scientific abstracts and programs please visit the its website, Experimental Biology.org.
New studies reveal hidden insights to help inspire vegetable love
If you sit at the dining table with people you’re visiting in a senior citizen’s assisted living apartment complex that has a dining hall open to visitors as well as residents, you may sometimes see a plate of food being served only to witness the senior pushing the vegetables off the plate or even offering them to you and eating only the pasta and cheese, meat, or seafood served on the lunch or dinner plate. Avoidance of vegetables often lasts a lifetime because the vegetables were not introduced early enough, or the person is allergic to them.
You usually choose to eat what you’re not allergic to or have adverse reactions to, or what has been a familiar food in your home eaten in front of you from very early childhood. Noteworthy were two new studies presented July 16, 2012 at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior’s (SNEB) annual conference may make it easier for moms to get their kids to eat – and enjoy – vegetables.
Both studies were conducted by SNEB president Brian Wansink, PhD, the John Dyson Professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University, and funded by Birds Eye, the country’s leading vegetable brand that recently launched a three-year campaign to inspire kids to eat more veggies, according to the July 16, 2012 news release, “New studies reveal hidden insights to help inspire vegetable love.”
Since the study was funded by Birds Eye, the July 16, 2012 news release, “New studies reveal hidden insights to help inspire vegetable love,” had a subtitle: “Birds Eye helps make it easier for moms to serve vegetables at family dinners.”
With nine out of 10 American children and teens not meeting daily vegetable recommendations, Birds Eye has a sustained commitment to help reverse this decline
That includes funding research to help moms find new strategies to raise veggie-loving kids, and being the first company to engage kids to be part of the solution. Birds Eye understands how vegetables make the meal and wants to help moms get even their pickiest eaters excited about vegetables.
By working with Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, and iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy, Birds Eye is empowering kids’ culinary creativity and encouraging them to share their veggie inspiration with other kids in a new initiative called “iCarly iCook with Birds Eye.”
The first study of 500 mothers with young children found that vegetables helped enhance the perceived taste of the entrée and made the meal appear to be more complete. The presence of vegetables on the plate also made the meal preparers appear to be more thoughtful and attentive.
Vegetables Make the Meal
“These findings underscore the concept that vegetables make the meal,” Wansink said, according to the July 16, 2012 news release, New studies reveal hidden insights to help inspire vegetable love. “Vegetables do so much more than provide important nutrients, they’re helping to make the entire meal more appealing and even making the person serving the meal appear to be more loving and caring.”
The web-based study had participants rate the appeal of various meal combinations with and without vegetables, and rate the meal preparer in different scenarios. “We need all the help we can get to encourage more vegetables at dinner,” Wansink said, according to the news release, New studies reveal hidden insights to help inspire vegetable love, Nearly 70 percent of vegetables eaten in America are eaten during dinner, yet only 23 percent of American dinners contain a full serving of vegetables.
“Simply talking about the nutrient contributions of vegetables may not be enough,” he said, according to the news release. “This study shows that vegetables have other key benefits and we should be leveraging these attributes as well.”
The second study reinforced the idea that parents may be giving up too early if they claim their kids don’t like vegetables.
Instead, Wansink said, according to the news release, that it’s better to focus on the vegetables kids will eat, and not on the ones they won’t. Interviewing an ethnically diverse panel of 500 mothers with two children, Wansink and colleagues had participants identify the favorite vegetable of each child along with their own, and the menu of the five most frequently eaten meals in their homes. The results indicated that 83 percent of the children in the study had a favorite vegetable their mother could easily name, and 53 percent of the oldest children had the same favorite vegetable as their mother.
There were six vegetables that composed 80 percent of the favorites:
- Corn (32.2%) – the favorite for boys
- Broccoli (29.4%) – the favorite for girls
- Carrots (23.2%)
- Green beans (17.2%)
- Potatoes (11.8%)
- Tomatoes (11.4%)
The five most popular dinner meals for children were pastas, tacos, hamburgers, meat balls and pork chops. Broccoli was the most preferred vegetable for children and mothers, except for the youngest male children.
“Children may not like all vegetables all of the time, but they may like some vegetables some of the time,” Wansink said, according to the news release. “Keep serving the vegetables that kids prefer and don’t be discouraged if they turn up their noses at other vegetables. They may eventually like them if you continue to offer them, and if they see you enjoy them, too. But celebrate these little victories and find ways to modify meals to accommodate your kids’ favorite vegetables.”
Birds Eye has created lots of fun vegetable recipes to get kids excited about vegetables, including those featuring kids’ favorite vegetables – broccoli, corn and green beans – along with ways to add vegetables to favorite family meals. Visit BirdsEye.com to check out some of these ideas, and visit Nick.com/BirdsEye to learn more about the “iCarly iCook with Birds Eye” initiative that encourages kids to create their own wacky vegetable dish for a chance to have it featured on an episode of iCarly. For more information, you may wish to check out the abstract of the 2012 study, “Vegetables make the meal: New insights to motivate vegetable preparation for family dinners.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, July 2012.