Science: People Eat More Veggies If They Are Renamed With Exciting Names

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Science: People Eat More Veggies If They Are Renamed With Exciting Names
Photo – congerdesign –

Researchers from Cornell University devised a way to make vegetables accessible to kids. Kids are notoriously known for being vegetable haters. They introduced fun monikers for veggies in elementary school cafeterias to make the greens more attractive to schoolchildren. According to the research, students’ consumption of vegetables doubled when they gave the food items names such as X-Ray Vision Carrots, Silly Dilly Green Beans, Power Punch Broccoli, or Tiny Tasty Tree Tops. The study’s findings first appeared in the Journal of Preventive Medicine. [1] The Cornell study provided a simple and low-cost solution for schools to improve the diets of schoolchildren.

It was then found that the same experiment worked on adults, too. This same approach was applied by a team of researchers at Stanford University that ran a simple experiment in their own canteen. They used appealing descriptors to vegetable dishes on the menu and observed an increase in sales when indulgent labels were used. This research suggests the link between positive eating experience and healthy food choices.

During the study, the researchers labeled a vegetable each day in one of four ways – basic, healthy but restrictive, healthy and positive, and indulgent. Some of the vegetables they used for the study were beets, green beans, and carrots:

Basic – Beets – Green Beans – Carrots

Healthy But Restrictive – Lighter Choice Beets With No Added Sugar – Light N’ Low Low-Carb Beans and Shallots – Carrots With Sugar-Free Citrus Dressing

Healthy And Positive – High-Antioxidant Beets – Energy-Boosting Green Beans and Shallots – Smart-Choice Vitamin C Citrus Carrots

Indulgent – Dynamite Chili and Tangy Lime-Seasoned Beets – Sweet Sizzlin’ Green Beans and Crispy Shallots – Twisted Citrus-Glazed Carrots

The Stanford team confirmed the power of words. They found that foods with indulgent labeling registered 25% increase in sales compared to vegetables with basic names. The veggies with crazy tags sold 41% and 35% more than those with healthy restrictive labeling and healthy positive labeling, respectively. They published their findings in a research letter in the June 13, 2017 edition of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. [2]

The Cornell and Stanford findings are not the first to suggest the value of simple psychology to improving the diets of people. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported on a study that used pictured carrots and green beans on lunch trays to help students pick and eat their vegetables. The study offered another low-cost measure to increasing vegetable consumption of kids at school. [3]

Eating vegetables has always been associated with good health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests the importance of vegetables as part of our main food group together with whole grains, protein, fruit, and dairy. Vegetables are good sources of fiber and potassium and are also rich in phytochemicals, calcium, and vitamin D. [4]

There are other ways to turn picky eaters into veggie lovers. Here are the do’s for establishing healthy relationships toward food and vegetables specifically.

• Serve vegetables first, followed by grains, protein, and dairy. Fruits should be enjoyed as desserts.
• Incorporate veggies into snacks to make them vitamin and nutrient packed.
• Add vegetables to your breakfast such as tomatoes, green bell pepper, or onions.
• Include vegetables to other foods that will not make you taste veggies such as kale to smoothies or onions to your omelet.
• Pair a veggie with your favorite proteins such as chicken, salmon, or steak.

Here are some of the vegetables that are considered the most healthy:

• bok choy
• collard greens
• romaine lettuce
• spinach
• artichokes
• asparagus
• beets
• brussels sprouts
• cabbage
• cauliflower
• eggplant
• green peppers
• mushrooms
• okra
• zucchini
• acorn squash
• butternut squash
• carrots
• red peppers

Further Reading:

10 Super Green Foods To Eat Every Day

Amazing Health Benefits Of 20 Fruits And Vegetables


[1] Rachel Tepper. September 17, 2012. Renaming Fruits And Vegetables With Catchy Names Convinces Kids To Eat Them, Study Says.

[2] Turnwald BP et al. 2017. Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption: Twisted Carrots and Dynamite Beets.

[3] Reicks M et al. 2012. Photographs in Lunch Tray Compartments and Vegetable Consumption Among Children in Elementary School Cafeterias.

[4] Joanne L. Slavin and Beate Lloyd. July 2012. Advances in Nutrition. Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables.

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