Boost produce intake by shrinking entree

May 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., May 21 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers found children ate more fruit and vegetables if their entrees were smaller, officials at the Dole Nutrition Institute said.

The Dole Nutrition Institute, a research and education foundation in Westlake Village, Calif., said researchers at Pennsylvania State University tried serving smaller age-appropriate entree portions to children ages 3-5.

"Focusing on lunch intake over the course of six days, the study varied the sizes of a macaroni and cheese entree, accompanied by as much green bean and applesauce side dishes the kids wanted to consume," a statement by the institute said. "The result: When the smallest entree portions were served, kids ate 67 percent more applesauce and 275 percent more green beans."

About 78 percent of U.S. children age 5 and younger don't consume enough fruits and vegetables -- and more than 80 percent of teens are deficient in key nutrients, the institute said.

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