Researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab say that young children will eat more fruit if parents cut it up into small pieces. The same goes for older kids when their schools were provided commercial fruit slicers:
This study shows that making fruit easier to eat encourages more children to select it and to eat more of it. With an initial investment of just $200, fruit slicers constitute a means for school cafeterias not only to encourage fruit consumption among students but also to prevent food waste!
For children with small mouths and teeth, and for those with loose and missing teeth, or braces, cutting fruit and vegetables into small, bite-size pieces makes sense. And Sarah Gallagher says that cutting up a child’s food can lead to better behavior at the dinner table:
Foods that children have to pick up and bite into using their front teeth – such as chicken drumsticks or whole apples – encourage aggressive and rowdy behaviour, scientists at Cornell University found.
Children eating chicken on the bone were twice as aggressive as those given the same chicken cut into pieces, the study reports.
Those eating on-the-bone chicken also ignored adults’ instructions more than twice as often and displayed far more “atypical” dinnertime behaviour – such as standing on the table or jumping off chairs.
This is thought to be an example of so-called ‘facial feedback’, where using certain facial muscles enhances particular emotions.
So cutting up your child’s food into easy-to-eat, bite-size pieces may lead to a better — and happier — eater!