If you’re tired of seeing your child’s food barely eaten, here’s a tip to try out next time that may just make all the difference: cut the sandwich into a fun shape. Think it's not worth the effort? According to a new study, it actually works!
Researchers wanted to see if the attractiveness of food could influence children to make better food choices and eat healthier. Specifically, they were looking to find out how to make whole-grain bread more appealing to kids. Whole-grain bread is richer in nutrients and higher in fiber compared to white bread.
For the study, researchers varied the shape and color of whole grain bread and presented them to 38 children ages 6 to 10 years old. The kids were to rate the bread on a scale of 1 (best) and 5 (worst). Results showed that kids preferred the natural brown color of whole-grain bread as opposed to when yellow food coloring was added to the bread.
And, here’s where it gets interesting. Bread that was cut into a star shape received a higher rating from the kids compared to square-shaped bread receiving scores of 1.5 and 2.0 respectively. “Although 45% of children said they preferred white bread and 53% don't eat whole-grain bread regularly, the acceptance of the star-shaped bread was high: 76% rated the bread good or very good,” said the study’s news release published on EurekAlert!
“We conclude that based on these results, children like an attractive child-oriented bread style, in this case a star-shape. Modifying healthy everyday foods in this manner to make them more attractive to children could help children make healthier food choices,” said the study authors.
The study, conducted by researchers from FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences, was presented at the 2018 European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria.
Cutting your child’s sandwich into fun shapes is a quick trick you can try at home. Cookie cutters in large sizes are perfect for the job and easy to find in stores. But, what do you do with the excess bits left? Munch on them as a quick morning snack while prepping your child’s baon!
That little bit of extra effort is worth it, mom. Here are a few more tried-and-tested simple ways from Pinay moms to make food more appealing to kids:
07.07.17 Yesterday, I gave her money so she can try to just buy ALL her food for the entire day at the school canteen....
1. Level up plain rice Packed rice that’s been sitting in a baunan all day isn’t very appetizing whether you’re a schoolchild or adult. The quick fix? “Make the rice colorful with mixed veggies! It makes the baon instantly appealing. Plus, it will look like you put a lot of effort into it!” said mom to an 8-year-old Denise Rayala who runs the Facebook page Royal Domesticity. Level up plain rice with bits of carrot, peas, and corn.
2. Shop for easy-to-use, fun food accessories Food picks are the ultimate baon hack of mom Michelle Dacumos-Alingarog who has a 3-year-old girl. Food picks are those cute plastic toothpicks you can find at home budget stores like Daiso, Japan Home Centre, and Miniso. They can make any baon — from sliced sausages to fruit — look fun for kids. “It takes 30 seconds to stick it on!” said Michelle.
3. Pack cereal Pressed for time (and ideas)? Reach for cereal. “Cereals also are a great baon cheat,” said mom Twinkle Lacsamana of @baonflatlays on Instagram. Look for ones with low sugar content and high fiber and mix with a few dried fruits and nuts for a healthier, energy-packed snack. (Would you say no to sneaking in a few pieces of tiny marshmallows and chocolate chips?)