A recent study from the University of Colorado found a connection between the use of compartmentalized plates with pictures of fruits and vegetables and the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by preschoolers. In this study, food was served family style, and kids used compartmentalized plates with pictures of different food groups.

Compared to a control group (kids ate family style but used good old fashion plain cardboard bowls), the toddlers chose approximately 50% more vegetables and 25% more fruits. Emily Melnick, the author of the study, explains that “these pictures suggest that other children take fruits and vegetables from classroom serving bowls and place them in those compartments and that they (these students) should do the same.”

Although this study was small and inconclusive, it presents a creative strategy to work on your preschooler’s eating habits.

Therefore, it is important for parents to remain mindful of actively working on manners, dietary choices, and eating habits during these formative years. For example, creating a happy, healthy preschool eater will likely pay big dividends since the eating habits developed during childhood often carry into adolescence and beyond.