Child-Liking Preferences of Favorite Vegetables

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Our two main research aims were to elicit children’s liking preferences for forty-five different vegetables by asking them which vegetables they have eaten and which were their two favorite vegetables. Our third aim was to disseminate our Child Vegetable Liking Survey for broader use. Children (n = 448) in the first, second, third, and fourth grades completed the prototype Child Vegetable Liking Survey. Students were read a paper-and-pencil demographic survey that asked questions about their age, gender, and race ethnicity, followed by a checklist of forty-five vegetables that they have ever eaten and a prompt to circle their two favorite vegetables. A color photograph supported the textual (word) list of forty-five vegetables to help students with recognition of their vegetable liking preferences. Implications for survey development with children are discussed in the context of functional health literacy and interactive health literacy. A list of expository texts with vegetable photographs are included for researchers to share with educators who desire to build background knowledge about a variety of vegetables with picture book compatibility. Conclusions: The top three vegetables with the highest frequencies and percentages “ever eaten” by the children included corn (n = 418; 93.3%), broccoli (n = 394; 97.9%), and carrots (n = 380; 84.8%), followed by potatoes, celery, lettuce, tomato, peas, sweet potato, and cucumber. A high number of students reported NOT ever eating bok choy (n = 413; 92.2%), yellow beans (n =404; 90.2%), kohlrabi (n = 399; 89.1%), followed by okra, rhubarb, parsnips, rutabaga, collard greens, yams, edamame, and artichokes. Corn was chosen as the favorite vegetable by the most students (n = 147; 34.6%). The second and third favorite vegetables were carrots (n = 88; 20.8%) and broccoli (n = 77; 18.2%), followed by potatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet potato, red pepper, avocado, lettuce, and tomato. The following vegetables were never chosen by the children as one of their two favorite vegetables: collard greens, kohlrabi, parsnip, rutabaga, turnips, and yellow beans.