American children do not meet the recommended daily servings of vegetables, and previous research suggests children who can taste the bitterness of 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) are more likely to have low vegetable intake. This study tested the hypothesis that adding multiple herb and spice blends to vegetables to increase flavor variety within a meal would increase vegetable intake in 3–5 year-old children. Children attended two laboratory visits and consumed two test meals of common foods: macaroni and cheese, applesauce, carrots, milk, and water. On one visit, the meal included three servings of carrots with different herb and spice blends (Variety condition). On the other visit, all three servings of carrots were seasoned with the same herb and spice blend (No Variety condition). Overall, children consumed similar amounts of carrots by condition (36.5 ± 40.5 g versus 35.9 ± 43.8 g at the Variety and No Variety conditions, respectively); however, this relationship was moderated by PROP status. Children who tasted PROP as bitter (tasters) consumed a greater proportion of carrots during the Variety condition relative to nontasters (p = 0.03). These findings suggest that children who taste PROP as bitter may be more receptive than nontasters to manipulations that increase flavor-variety of vegetables using herbs and spices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience