Okay, I’m a big fan of research, but wasn’t this kind of obvious? Anyway, now we know for sure.
Caregivers often struggle with food neophobia on the part of young children. This study examined whether labeling novel healthy foods with fun names would increase children’s willingness to try those foods and encourage them to eat more of those foods in a child care setting. Thirty-nine toddler and preschool age children (mean age = 3.9 years) were served each of three foods twice, once labeled with a fun name and once with a healthy name. Percentage of the food consumed by each child was recorded. Overall, children ate a greater percentage of the target foods when they were labeled with fun names. Also, a larger percentage of the children tasted the foods when they were labeled with fun names. This simple strategy could be effective for increasing consumption of healthy foods among young children.
from the Journal of Early Childhood Research, May 2011