The influence of preparation method on children's liking for vegetables

Zeinstra, G.G.; de Graaf, C.; Koelen, M.A.


In order to improve children's vegetable consumption, innovative strategies are needed to increase their preference for vegetables. Texture appears to be important in children's evaluation of vegetables. The aim of this study was to investigate how children's liking for vegetables is influenced by different preparation methods. Participants were children from three age groups (4¿6 y N = 46; 7¿8 y N = 25; 11¿12 y N = 23) and young adults (18¿25 y N = 22). The participants evaluated six preparation methods of carrots and French beans: cooked, steamed, stir-fried, mashed, fried and grilled. On two different days, the participants made a preference rank-order for the six preparation methods; one based on photographs (visual) and one based on tasting the products. Furthermore, young adults scored the different vegetable preparations on their analytical characteristics. Preliminary results show a higher preference for cooked and steamed vegetables over the other preparations (P <0.05). Cooked and stir-fried were the most familiar preparation methods for both vegetables. Analytical data showed that the cooked and steamed vegetables scored relatively high on vegetable flavour, crunchiness and colour intensity, and relatively low on fatty taste and brown-colouring. Together with the visual data, the results will give more insight into what guides children's liking and disliking for vegetables.