Kids Eat More Fresh Fruit if It’s Cut – An Astounding Revelation

I recently read an article discussing a study showing that children would prefer to eat fresh fruit if it was cut or sliced. The study results indicated that more fruit was consumed in school cafeterias when it was cut into slices and cubes and such. Seriously?! What adult wouldn’t eat more fruit and vegetables if they were washed and cut into delightful bite size pieces? We hardly need a study when a peek into a school cafeteria garbage can reveals whole apples with one or two bites missing. How about those whole oranges and pears hidden on a window sill! It’s not that kids don’t like whole fruit, it just takes too long to eat. When eating lunch at school, most students interact with their food for about 10 minutes or maybe 15 minutes on a rainy day. Whole fruit takes longer to eat than cut fruit, especially if you are missing your front teeth or have braces. Kids like oranges if they are peeled or wedged. Who wants sticky fingers? Satsumas and tangerines are popular because they are usually smaller and easy to peel. It’s amazing how stubborn a banana can be. Some younger students put up a good fight trying to break open the peel. Lunch time is also social time and play time. Kids often put more attention on conversation than the food they are consuming. The most popular, easy to eat foods will go down first. Other items will follow if they don’t interfere with talk and play. In many elementary schools, classrooms are assigned specific cafeteria tables, and the students are dismissed to play when most are done eating. Slower eaters will not commit a social faux pas by holding up the table to finish eating an apple. In addition to preparing and offering fruits and vegetables in appealing forms, we also need to look at how we can improve the eating environment to really increase fruit and vegetable consumption.