Turns Out The Secret To Getting Kids To Eat Their Veggies Is Easier Than You Think
Kids aren’t dumb. They know if they’re given a meal that’s two parts delicious and one part vegetable, the yummy stuff goes down the gullet first and the veggies are either saved for last or, if you were me, the trash. Especially at school, when no one was breathing down your neck about brussels sprouts and broccoli, amiright? Well, according to a new study, kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when school recess takes place before lunch, instead of after.
Lead researcher Joe Price, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, says:
“Recess is a pretty big deal to kids. If you’re going to make a kid choose between going to recess and eating their veggies, recess is going to win.”
The study looked at seven elementary schools altogether. Three of the schools switched recess to before lunch, while four schools continued to hold recess after lunch. For four days in the spring and nine days in the fall, the researchers measured how many fruits and vegetables each student ate during lunch. The three schools that made the switch, did so in the fall. In the schools that switched recess to before lunch, children ate 54 percent more fruits and vegetables than they did before the switch, the researchers found. But in schools that kept recess after lunch, children actually ate fewer fruits and vegetables as the year went on.
As we all know, a solid outdoor playtime experience can really build up an appetite. Turns out getting kids to scarf down healthy foods is as easy as one, two, make them work for it during a rousing round of kickball.
An added bonus? The study saw a 40 percent reduction in waste, which means more of those healthy foods ended up inside the kids, instead of the school’s dumpster. Win-win.