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The Effects of Potato Presentation on Vegetable Intake in School-Aged Children: A Cross-Over Study

Mayra G. Hernandez Sanchez, Sarah Bellini, William F. Christensen, Laura K. Jefferies, James D. LeCheminant, Emily V. Patten, Alisha H. Redelfs, Nathan Stokes, Jacklyn Wang, Micaela Rennick, Kelsey Anderson, Joli Hunt and Gene J. Ahlborn



Vegetables are an essential component of a healthy dietary pattern in children; however, their consumption is often insufficient due to lack of preference. To address this, the influence of combining vegetables (mixed peas and carrots—MPACs) with potatoes, a generally liked food, on overall vegetable consumption among children aged 7–13 years was explored. The research involved a cross-over study design with 65 participants who completed five lunchtime meal conditions, each with different combinations of MPACs and potatoes versus a control (MPACs with a wheat roll). The meals were provided in a cafeteria setting, and plate waste was used to measure vegetable consumption. Anthropometric data and other variables were also measured. Notably, self-reported hunger did not significantly differ between conditions. Meal condition was a significant predictor of MPACs (F = 5.20; p = 0.0005), with MPAC consumption highest when combined with shaped potato faces in the same bowl (+8.77 g compared to serving MPACs and shaped potato faces in separate bowls) and lowest when combined with diced potatoes in the same bowl (−2.85 g compared to serving MPACs and diced potatoes in separate bowls). The overall model for MPAC consumption was influenced by age, height z-score, body fat percentage z-score, and condition (likelihood ratio = 49.1; p < 0.0001). Age had the strongest correlation with vegetable consumption (r = 0.38), followed by male gender, height z-score (r = 0.30), and body fat z-score (r = −0.15). The results highlight the positive impact of combining potatoes with vegetables in school meals, particularly when using shaped potato faces. These findings emphasize the potential of potatoes as a valuable vegetable option in promoting healthier eating habits among children. Additionally, future research could explore the impact of different potato combinations and investigate other factors influencing meal consumption in school settings.
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  1. Hernandez Sanchez MG, Bellini S, Christensen WF, Jefferies LK, LeCheminant JD, Patten EV, Redelfs AH, Stokes N, Wang J, Rennick M, et al. The Effects of Potato Presentation on Vegetable Intake in School-Aged Children: A Cross-Over Study. Nutrients. 2023; 15(21):4496. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15214496
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