Brian Wansink, Misturu Shimizu and Adam Brumberg of Cornell University said most parents know vegetables are healthy, but only 23 percent of U.S. dinners include one.
The researchers asked if nutrition is not a sufficient motivation, might a parent be more inspired to serve vegetables if doing so improved either the taste or how loving and thoughtful the server would be perceived?
In the first study, people evaluated the personality of a cook who either did or did not include a vegetable in a family dinner. In the second study, five different meals that either included or did not include a vegetable were rated in terms of the taste of the entree and of the whole meal.
A survey of 500 U.S. mothers ages 18-65, with at least two children under the age of 18 living at home found serving vegetables improved taste expectations for the entree as well as for the whole meal.
Additionally, serving a vegetable with a meal also enhanced perceptions of the meal preparer -- they were evaluated as being more thoughtful and attentive, and less lazy, boring and self-absorbed.
Birds Eye was a sponsor of the study.