The researchers found that when garden grown vegetables were slipped into school salads, kids were over four times as likely to take a salad."This is a small study, but it suggests gardens can help children's diets," said lead author Brian Wansink from Cornell University.

This pilot study, conducted in the US, measured the change in vegetable selection and plate waste when school grown salad greens were incorporated in the cafeteria school lunch. The researchers measured the selections and plate waste of a total of 370 enrolled high school students over three separate days.

When the salad bar contained produce grown by students, the percentage of those who selected salads with their meals increased from two percent to 10 percent and on average, students ate two-thirds of their salads.

Overall, salad consumption for the entire student body increased from approximately five to 12 servings per day. This study implies the larger potential benefits of the school garden programmes.

"We see great promise with this research. The first hurdle in increasing vegetable consumption is simply getting kids to put them on their plate," co-author Drew Hanks from Ohio State University noted.

The study was published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.


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