A new trick into making children find healthy food more appealing would be smiley faces and small prizes for buying healthy foods, states new study.
Unhealthy eating habits that children may prefer while at school is one of the factors that increase the risks of obesity in children. Precisely for this reason schools have been educated on improving the nutritional quality of the meals they are offering and encouraging children to eat them, explained specialists.
A two stages activity was conducted in a school from Cincinnati which aimed to promote healthy eating habits in children starting from kindergarten to six graders.
Trough out the first stage of the process, there have been placed green smiley faces next to the healthiest food items in school, such as veggies, fruits, fat free milk and whole grains.
After three months specialists have released the idea of a so called “Power Plate”, which means having on your plate four types of healthy foods. Kids who chose to eat the Power Plate would be awarded with a prize like a sticker a small beach ball or a temporary tattoo.
The prizes would be received trough out the process if experts would see a child consuming the four healthy foods and drink.
For the entire duration of the experiment which lasted five months, researchers used the cash register receipts to calculate the consumption of healthy foods from the beginning until the end of the activity.
The estimations showed that plain milk had an incredible rise in purchasing and increased from 7.4% to 48%, meaning that milk sales increased with 549%. The quantity of the milk bought remained constant from the beginning to the end of the research.
In the mean time chocolate milk was no longer preferred by kids and showed a sale decrease of almost 2 times smaller, going down from 86.5% to 44.6%.
More over, fruits have become among the favorites and showed a sale increase of 20%.Veggies have also went up with 62% and the “Power Plate” concept proved to be a success increasing with 335% since the beginning.
It appears that this study has discovered a promising, non expensive and effective method to improve the nutritional habits of kids in elementary school. This kind of system might come in handy in schools that are trying to change their nutritional system, explained the author of the study Robert Siegel.
Different projects have been also trying to promote a healthier life style in schools. Researchers from Boston have been studying the effects of a chef creating the school menu.
The chef’s mission was to improve school meals by adding healthier foods like whole grains, seasoning without added sugar or salt, fresh and frozen items and foods containing polyunsaturated fats.
Calculations have shown that veggies consumption has risen from 28.9% to 59.7% while fruits increased from 67.4% to 88.1%. After seven months students had a 30% higher preference on eating vegetables and 20% higher preference on consuming fruits.
Image Source: Meat Free Mondays