Kelly Koss, a student at the University of Maine pursuing a master's degree in food science and human nutrition, may have the answer. She wants to know if children would eat more vegetables if they were more vibrant and colorful.
“I have always been interested in childhood nutrition, and my thesis advisor, Dr. Camire, came up with the idea of testing children's liking of different colored vegetables,” Koss said. “Many people are unaware that there are multiple colors available of the same vegetable, but you can find purple and yellow carrots, purple, orange and green cauliflower, and purple potatoes at farmers' markets and in some grocery stores.”
Koss is conducting a study over February break, from the 17th through the 21st. She is seeking 100 children who are 8 to 10 years old to participate in the study. Children who take part will be asked to sample different vegetables that vary in color. Cooked potatoes, for example, will be sampled in white and purple. They will also be asked to sample raw cauliflower and carrots that vary in shades. Volunteers will also be asked a few questions after the study.
Koss says that all of the vegetables are grown naturally, and that none of them have been artificially colored.
After the study, Koss says that they will analyze the results to see if children are more willing to try the more novel colored vegetables.
“The results may provide useful information for parents, educators, or anyone working to encourage healthy eating habits for kids,” Koss said.