Study: Divided plates help picky kids eat more veggies

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Getting pre-schoolers to eat more vegetables can be tough but a new study shows the kind of plate you use might make a difference.

Researchers started by showing children, between three and five years old, colorful, segmented plates with designated sections for fruits and vegetables. 

When fruits and vegetables were served in the segmented plates, researchers say the children increased their uptake of vegetables by about 14 grams per day. 

Although that's the equivalent to only about two baby carrots, the researchers say a little bit is better than none at all. 

The children were already eating most of their fruit, so fruit consumption didn't change. 

Registered dietitian Sarah Krieger says segmented plates can also separate food for picky toddlers who prefer not to have different groups touch each other. 

They can be even more important for children with sensory-based feeding issues.

Dipping sauces can also help kids try new vegetables.  If you don't want to make your own, Krieger recommends Bolthouse Farms yogurt-based dressings you can find in the refrigerated produce area of your grocery store.

Other studies have shown placemats can also help children expand their palates. 

Try these recipes next time you want to expand your family's fruit and vegetable options.

Stuffed Artichoke

-Fresh Artichoke

-Breadcrumbs (Italian seasoning)

-Olive oil

-Garlic (1 clove)

-Romano cheese (grated)

-Lemon (2 slices, optional)

Place a small amount of water, approximately 1/2 inch in a saucepan.  Add 1 TBS of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, to the water and place on medium heat. (You can add lemon slices to help maintain color).

Trim off the stem and top of the artichoke (tips) and rinse. Open up the leaves by tapping the bottom of the artichoke on a counter and separating them using your fingers.

Prepare a mixture of 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1/8 cup Romano cheese.

Using a spoon or flexible plastic cup, pour the mixture between the leaves, as much as they will hold.

Place the artichoke in the saucepan and drizzle olive oil over the stuffing. 

Cover and Simmer for about 1.5 hours, or until the leaves pull off easily and the meat is tender.

If you want to make your own breadcrumbs, here's an alternative recipe:

You can also skip the stuffing and steam the artichoke. Use the yogurt-based dressing as a dip.

Hint: Avoid getting water into the artichoke when you lift the lid of the pot.  It will make the breadcrumbs soggy.


-¼ cup each olive oil and water

-1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

-1 cup fresh basil

-1-2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

Season to taste with sea salt. Add to 8 ounces cooked pasta.