Based on research by Wengreen, H.J., et al. Written by Katie Kavanaugh, MS, BCBA.
Fruits and Veggies…. YUCK! Are you ready to hear, “give me some broccoli!!!!”? Listen UP!…
Researchers from the UK, using principles of behavior analysis, devised a program that actually gets children to eat their veggies, all on their own! The team of researchers created an animated series of videos called the “Food Dudes” targeting children aged 3-11 to encourage them to eat their veggies. Coupled with sampling new foods in the classroom and gaining rewards for eating fruits and veggies, it has seen a huge success! The series, based on four superheroes, gain their energy to fight the villains by eating fruits and veggies and are used as role models to encourage healthy food consumption.
A study completed with US elementary school children found that by using this program, the fruit and veggie consumption increased by 42 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Furthermore, over 80 percent of the teachers and parents believed that the children enjoyed the program and reports indicated that children included in the study began requesting more fruits and veggies at home.
Setting a good model for your children, allowing your children to try new fruits and veggies, and calling them a superhero when they do are all great ways to get your kids to eat their fruits and veggies!
Wengreen, H.J., Madden, G.J., Aguilar, S.S., Smits, R.R. & Jones, B.A. (2013). Incentivizing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption: Results of a United States pilot study of the food dudes program, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45(54-59).