Here is a reason to add a little creativity to your description of fruit and vegetable dishes.
Studies show, when it comes to produce, we can all use more in our diets. According to a 2012 study published recently in JAMA, poor intake of specific fruits and vegetables was associated with over 45% of cardiometabolic deaths, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. 1
But a new study has a way around poor intake- label the produce with exciting terms. Adding descriptive words such as “sizzling, tangy, rich or dynamite” makes adults obtain and eat more vegetables. The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that more students and staff at Stanford University chose labeled vegetables over standard ones at lunch, even though there was no difference in preparation. Researchers labeled the vegetables four different ways: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent. The vegetables’ name only was used for basic, healthy restrictive group included words like “reduced sodium or lighter choice”. For healthy positive, terms such as “vitamin-rich or nutritious green” were used. Indulgent group vegetables were labeled “rich buttery” or “slow-roasted/caramelized”.
Researchers found that the staff not only chose more of the indulgent vegetables, but also consumed more. Indulgently labeled vegetables were 25% more likely to be chosen than basic labeled, 35% more over healthy positive and 41% more over healthy restrictive. Researchers believed the indulgently labeled vegetables are more in line with why people would choose them- because they are seeking something delicious to eat.2 The study was conducted during a semester at Stanford serving nearly 600 people during lunch. Vegetables purchased were checked and weighed by cafeteria staff.
Similar studies have shown the same results. A study by Wansick, et. al. found that elementary students chose more vegetables when they had names like “X-ray vision carrots” versus no label. The study found students were 16% more likely to choose fun-labeled vegetables over basic ones. 3
Here’s a few labels to try on your family or for classes or foodservice:
· Brilliant broccoli
· Tender asparagus
· Caramelized carrots
· Crunchy corn
· Savory sweet potatoes
· Zesty zucchini
Do you have any favorites to share? Let us know!
1. Renata Micha, RD, PhD1; Jose L. Peñalvo, PhD1; Frederick Cudhea, PhD1; et al, Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States. JAMA. 2017;317(9):912-924
2. Bradley P. Turnwald, MS1; Danielle Z. Boles, BA1; Alia J. Crum, PhD1. Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption: Twisted Carrots and Dynamite Beets. JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 12, 2017
3. Wansink B1, Just DR, Payne CR, Klinger MZ. Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools. Prev Med. 2012 Oct;55(4):330-2
By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.