New paper: “Do children favor snacks and dislike vegetables? Exploring children’s food preferences using drawing as a projective technique. A cross-cultural study”
Draw me your dream meal. Healthy and sustainable, please!
by Tija Ragelienė
“If they could they would eat candies and snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” This is a thought that many parents and educators might say sometimes about children’s food preferences. But is it really true? Do children truly prefer sweets and candies for their meals? Children’s food preference was found to be an important determinant for food choice and consumption, but eating sweets and snacks only might not be the most prefered food for children. To avoid the rising spread of childhood obesity and preserve resources within planetary boundaries, healthy and sustainable eating habits and the consumption of adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables should be encouraged. In this cross-cultural study, I aimed to explore children’s food preferences using drawing as a projective technique in terms of healthy and sustainable eating and compare food preference patterns in Denmark and Lithuania. Almost 500 children between 8-13 years old in total participated in the study and drew their favourite meal that likes to eat the most for lunch or dinner. Fruits, vegetables, highly processed and animal-based foods were not included in a large part of children’s most preferred meal composition. Favourite meals’ composition varied among children in both countries and included different products from separate food groups. Vegetables were more likely to be present in the children’s favourite meals together with meat products. Children’s preferences for foods such as meat and animal-based products expressed in children’s drawings might be considered relatively positive in terms of sustainable eating. However, children’s preferences and intake of fruits and vegetables should still be encouraged among young consumers. Cultural and gender differences in children’s food preferences should be considered while creating interventions and marketing strategies for promoting healthy and sustainable eating among young consumers.
Ragelienė, T. (2021). Do children favor snacks and dislike vegetables? Exploring children’s food preferences using drawing as a projective technique. A cross-cultural study. Appetite, 165, 105276. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2021.105276