A recent study examined whether looking at photo books prior to giving kids foods to taste improved the outcomes of a home-delivered taste exposure program. Parents of 127 toddlers (aged 21-24 months) chose two “target” foods (1 vegetable, 1 fruit) that they were interested in their children eating. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups. There were two experimental groups of parents and children that reviewed books about either the target fruit or vegetable every day for two weeks and a control group that did not get a book. In each of the three groups, liking of both targeted foods increased after taste exposure and stayed above baseline at follow up (all ps< .001).
Compared to the control group who only had taste exposure, looking at vegetable books increased children’s liking of their target vegetables after the trial and at follow up and increased intake of the vegetable afterwards. Seeing vegetable books was also linked to smaller increases in neophobia and food pickiness over the study period. This data suggests that picture books may have long-term, positive impacts on children’s perceptions about new foods.
By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LDJanuary 2019 Nutrition Newsletter