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More fruit and vegetables for children

Children who spend more time at the table eat more small pieces of food

Praveen Pa / Pexels

Children eat more vegetables if they sit for longer at the dinner table, according to an experiment by researchers from the University of Mannheim and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, both in Germany. In the study, 50 sets of parents (with an average age of 43 years) and children (with an average age of 8) sat down for a typical German dinner of sliced bread, cold cuts, cheese, and fruit and vegetables cut into small pieces. After an extra 10 minutes at the table, bringing the total to 30 minutes, the children ate an average of 100 grams more fruit and vegetables — the equivalent to one small apple or one of the five recommended daily portions of fruit or vegetables. They did not eat any extra bread, cold cuts, or desserts, leading the researchers to hypothesize that small pieces of fruit and vegetables are easier to eat and therefore more attractive (JAMA Network Open, April 3; Max Planck Institute, April 18).