Serve Vegetables to Your Kids
While vegetables may not be the central focus of a meal, adding vegetables can enhance the enjoyment of the meal
Adding vegetables to a meal will increase its nutritional value, but it can also make the meal preparer seem more attentive and loving
Vegetables make the cook seem “heroic”- loving, thoughtful, and selfless
Tools & Resources
Feel free to download and use any of the graphics, illustrations, videos, and resources on this page for educational purposes. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Do you want to be seen as a better cook and a more loving parent? It’s as easy as serving a vegetable at dinner, according to recent Cornell Food and Brand Lab research.
In the first study, 500 American mothers were presented with one of five common meat-based hypothetical meals that either contained a side vegetable or no vegetable. The five meals included entrees such as steak, chicken, and lasagna and sides such as potatoes, broccoli and breadsticks. Those who were presented with a meal including a vegetable side, such as broccoli, indicated that the main dish would taste better and that the server was a better cook. “Simply having a vegetable on the plate made the whole meal be perceived as tastier,” said lead author Brian Wansink, PhD director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design,“Even if they didn’t particularly like the vegetable.”
In the second study, these same 500 people read a day-in-the-life story of a woman named Valerie as she woke up, went to work, ran errands, made dinner for her family, and watched TV with her husband before going to bed. In one version of the story she prepared frozen green beans with dinner and in the other version she didn’t. After finishing the story, people were asked to describe Valerie as a person. When Valerie’s day included serving green beans she was more likely to be described as “thoughtful”, “attentive” and “capable.” When she was not described as serving a vegetable, she was more often described as “neglectful”, “selfish” and “boring.”
Families are most likely to consume vegetables at dinner time, yet only about 23% of dinners contain a full serving of vegetables. “If families want to eat more vegetables, dinner’s the place to start. If you serve vegetables at dinner, not only will your family think you’re a better cook, they’ll also think you’re a more loving parent,” said Dr. Wansink, “Within two days of discovering this, I changed the way I cook. I no longer say I’m too tired to make a vegetable. If nothing else, at least I open up a can of green beans.”
• Download paper from the SSRN (the Social Science Research Network)
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
Other Interesting Articles on Compensation
Dijksterhuis, A. (2004). Think Different: The Merits of Unconscious Thought in Preference Development and Decision Making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 586-598.
Dijksterhuis, A., Bos, M. W., Nordgren, L. F., & Van Baaren, R. B. (2006). On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect. Science, 311, 1005-1007.
Fillingim, R. B., Roth, D. L., & Haley, W. E. (1989). The effects of distraction on the perception of exercise-induced symptoms. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 33, 241-248.
Fishbach, A., & Dhar, R. (2005). Goals as Excuses or Guides: The Liberating Effect of Perceived Goal Progress on Choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 32, 370-377.
Karageorghis, C. I., & Terry, P. C. (1997). The psychophysical effects of music in sport and exercise: A review. Journal of Sport Behavior, 20, 54.
Khan, U., & Dhar, R. (2006). Licensing Effect in Consumer Choice. Journal of Marketing Research, 43, 259-266.
King, N. A. (1999). What processes are involved in the appetite response to moderate increases in exercise-induced energy expenditure? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 58, 107-113.
King, N. A., Snell, L., Smith, R. D., & Blundell, J. E. (1996). Effects of short-term exercise on appetite responses in unrestrained females. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 50, 663-667.
Kivetz, R., & Zheng, Y. (2006). Determinants of justification and self-control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 572-587.
Lerouge, D. (2009). Evaluating the Benefits of Distraction on Product Evaluations: The Mind-Set Effect. Journal of Consumer Research, 36, 367-379.
Lichtman, S.W., Pisarska, K., Berman, E.R., Pestone, M., Dowling, H., Offenbacher, E., Weisel, H., Heshka, S., Matthews, D.E., & Heymsfield, S.B. (1992). Discreptency between self-reported and actual caloric intake and exercise in obese subjects. New England Journal of Medicine, 327 (27), 1893-1898.
Martins, C., Morgan, L. M., Bloom, S. R., & Robertson, M. D. (2007). Effects of exercise on gut peptides, energy intake and appetite. Journal of Endocrinology, 193, 251-258.
Nowlis, S. M., & Shiv, B. (2005). The Influence of Consumer Distractions on the Effectiveness of Food-Sampling Programs. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 42 (2), 157-168.
Okada, E.M. (2005). Justification Effects on Consumer Choice of Hedonic and Utilitarian Goods. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 42, 43-53.
Learn more . . .