Add a Vegetable a Day for Heroic Mom Status
Do your children view you as a good cook? How about a loving mother? New research suggests your kids are likely to view you as more loving—and a better cook—if you include at least one vegetable when you serve dinner. That’s right. According to recent research published in Public Health Nutrition, mothers who took the time to include at least one vegetable with dinner were viewed by survey participants—who were, themselves, mothers—as more “thoughtful,” “attentive,” and “capable” than women who did not offer a vegetable entree.
Investigators focused on dinner because that’s the meal most likely to feature a vegetable or vegetables, in America. According to the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, only about 29% of American dinners include a full serving of vegetables, at that. Clearly, the bar is already set fairly low, ladies.
Perceptions about the appeal of a given meal were affected by the inclusion of a vegetable. "Simply having a vegetable on the plate made the whole meal be perceived as tastier," said lead author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design, "Even if they didn't particularly like the vegetable."
"If families want to eat more vegetables, dinner's the place to start. If you serve vegetables at dinner, not only will your family think you're a better cook, they'll also think you're a more loving parent," said Dr. Wansink, "Within two days of discovering this, I changed the way I cook. I no longer say I'm too tired to make a vegetable. If nothing else, at least I open up a can of green beans.” There you have it. While I prefer fresh vegetables, your family is likely to think better of you—and the meal you serve—even if all you do is open a can of beans.
Brian Wansink, Mitsuru Shimizu, Adam Brumberg. How vegetables make the meal: their hedonic and heroic impact on perceptions of the meal and of the preparer. Public Health Nutrition, 2012; 16 (11): 1988 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980012004673