Effective strategies are needed to increase vegetable intake in accordance with health recommendations. Previous research has shown that increasing the variety of foods leads to increased consumption, yet this strategy has not been investigated for promoting vegetable intake. This crossover study, conducted in 2008 and 2009, tested whether filling half the plate with a variety of vegetables influences vegetable consumption and meal energy intake. Once a week for 4 weeks, a meal of pasta and cooked vegetables was consumed ad libitum by 66 adults (34 women, 32 men). The meals were varied in the type of vegetables offered: at three meals 600 g of a single vegetable was served (broccoli, carrots, or snap peas) and at one meal 200 g of each of the three vegetables was served side by side. Data were analyzed using a mixed linear model with repeated measures. In this study, serving a variety of vegetables increased vegetable intake at the meal (P<0.0001). Subjects ate more vegetables when served the variety than when served any single type; the mean increase was 48±6 g, or more than one-half serving. This increase remained significant when intake of the variety of vegetables was compared with the preferred vegetable of each participant (mean 25±8 g; P=0.002). Vegetable intake was not significantly related to energy intake at the meal. The results of this study demonstrate that increasing the variety of low-energy-dense vegetables served at a meal can be used as a strategy to increase vegetable intake.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics