vegetables-basketA new study says that whether or not we serve vegetables with meals carries significant emotional meaning.

Researchers set out to determine if the addition, or lack of, a vegetable with a meal altered the eater’s attitude towards the meal as well as about the person who made the food. Turns out, there’s a lot to be said about serving vegetables beyond providing a range of health benefits.

The link between vegetables and perception

The two-phased study involved interviews in addition to a national survey involving 500 American mothers with more than two children age 18 or younger. Study participants were asked to describe their feelings about both the meal and the food preparer based on whether or not a vegetable accompanied the meal. Descriptors such as “loving” and “selfish” were among the list to choose from.

When greens were on the plate, not only was the overall meal ranked as “tasty” compared to dishes that did not include vegetables, but the preparer was viewed as “loving” and “thoughtful.” Meals that did not include vegetables were given negative descriptors. People who served meals with vegetables were deemed more capable and attentive while people who did not serve vegetables were considered boring and selfish.

The overall conclusion of the study was that incorporation of vegetables enhances enjoyment of meals and creates positive feelings towards those who prepared them that way.

The psychology of food and why vegetables may make a difference

Several theories can help explain the study’s findings. Clearly raw foodists and those who enjoy whole, organic fresh foods already know that enjoying vegetables is a positive experience.

However, many people also think that enjoyment of foods extends beyond nutritional value.

Appearance can make a difference in food consumption, since reaction to meals and inclination to consume them vary depending on factors like color, or absence of it. Therefore, it’s thought that the addition of colorful vegetables, which are beneficial for health anyway, increases the odds that they will be consumed, as will the accompanying foods. Many suggest adding a salad that includes a lot of raw vegetables.

In many instances, it boils down to food psychology and is reason why some restaurants add the artistic flair of a curled lemon peel near the entree or decoratively sprinkle parsley flakes on the perimeter of a plate. Even food photography is big business where once again, the importance of colorful extras come into play and resonates favorably with others. There’s even such a thing as food stylists.

Meals that have more color and vegetable content make for more positive perceptions. Not only does a meal feel more thoughtfully prepared, but is more apt to be considered tasty and exciting,which reinforces these findings. Once again, all the more reason to eat raw, organic fresh vegetables!

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About the author:

Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.

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