Posts Tagged ‘taste’

OUT WITH KIDS’ MENUS!

November 1, 2014

french-fries-and-chicken-nuggets

So let me be bold and say it: YES I am TOTALLY AGAINST KIDS MENUS as they are currently presented in the majority of restaurants. The usual triad of chicken nuggets and fries, cheese and tomato pizza and tortellini is sad. Sad, because at a restaurant we have a wonderful opportunity for children to taste new foods, to sample familiar foods presented differently, and to enjoy eating food in a social environment which may be more conducive to exploration and discovery. I applaud parents who ignore the typical Kids Menu and get half portions or sharing portions from the regular ‘adult’ menu for their kids. I applaud restaurants who offer this option and have no Kids Menu! I appreciate that parents often resort by default to the Kids Menu in the name of meal tranquillity, getting some food into their kids’ bellies and avoidance of food waste, but what a limited option we are offering our children! And we are setting them up for life to have a limited palate (not to mention the likelihood of a less-balanced diet).

Interestingly, this week the Washington Post ran a front page article on just this topic (click link below). It seems to have created a buzz on a national level in the US. Can we extend this buzz internationally? Parents, food and nutrition educators and chefs worldwide….unite and take action now!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/advocates-want-restaurants-to-stop-catering-to-young-diners-with-kids-menus/2014/10/30/ef0297d2-561c-11e4-892e-602188e70e9c_story.html

“Tasty and crunchy please” children say

May 1, 2010

As part of my doctoral research I studied  how Maltese and Gozitan children prefer their fruits and vegetables. A recent study with children from the Netherlands has found some similar results.

From my research it was clear that children’s attraction to fruits and vegetables depended on such factors as taste, texture, temperature, aroma and colour.

Some of the specific features in these categories were common promoters or barriers to consumption for both vegetables and fruit.

For example, attributes such as ‘sweet’, ‘flavoursome’, ‘fresh’,  ‘juicy’ and ‘red colour’ attracted children to both food groups; whereas attributes such as ‘soft’, ‘soggy’ and “full of seeds” were barriers to consumption for both food groups. 

These were the key findings:

Features in vegetables and fruits which attracted children

Flavour: Pleasant, flavoursome, sweet, vinegary flavour, fresh, “special”

Texture: Thin”, “light”, creamy, juicy, crunchy, hard

Colour: Red, violet

Size: Small

Shape: Round

Convenience: Easy to peel or divide

Enjoyment value: Fun to eat (e.g. globe artichoke leaves) or to make funny faces with (e.g. cherry tomatoes in cheeks)

Features in vegetables and fruits which were less attractive

Flavour: Unpleasant, strong, bitter, sour

Texture: Dry, soft, soggy/ “squashy”, chewy, full of seeds

Convenience: Difficult to pick up from plate, difficult to keep on fork, dribbles 

The Dutch study found that the majority of children liked steamed or boiled vegetables best, and attributed this to the fact that the carrots and beans used in the study retained their original taste, colour and crunchiness. These findings were pretty similar to  those for Maltese children.

For more on the Dutch study read here:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE62N1EY20100324

Do your experiences with children tally with the above?

What do you do to attract children to eat fruits and vegetables?