Spicing Up Our Vegetables

How do you prepare and eat your vegetables?  Do you sauté, steam, boil, or bake them?   Do you prepare them with herbs and/or spices?  If so, are there specific herbs/spices that you prefer, such as, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, cilantro, dill weed, ginger, curry, rosemary, thyme, and so on?

Researchers at the University of Illinois are interested in understanding adult vegetable-eating habits, so that they may be able to figure how to convince adults to eat more vegetables.  According to many studies, we are supposed to eat an average of 2-3  1/2 cups of vegetables each day, but on average, most of us only eat 1  1/2 cups per day.  

The researchers are hoping that if they could convince adults to eat more flavorful vegetables, they would be more inclined to eat more of them on a daily basis.  Therefore, the researchers are currently real-life focus group-type testing in actual dining room settings to observe the reactions of adults that are eating vegetables that have been flavored-up.

As a precursor to the testing, the researchers conducted many analyses to study vegetable-eating trends across many areas.  Specifically, Cassandra Nikolaus, a nutritional doctoral student, and Brenna Ellison, an assistant professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois, teamed up to study current adult-eating habits of vegetables, in order to understand how consumers use spices and herbs in cooking… what they use and how. 

And, they got interesting results.  They found that how and what herbs/spices were used cut across age and cultural differences.  For example, they found that older adults preferred milder tastes, and different cultures were more inclined than others to eat certain taste/flavor combinations. 

To learn more about this interesting study, click HERE.

Another study that was conducted a few years ago at Texas A&M and Texas State universities showed that adults aged 50+ tended to eat more vegetables when they participated in gardening their own vegetables.  Learn more HERE.  


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