Water at meals and snacks may help you eat more veggies!

Growing up, what was your default drink with pizza? How about with chips or popcorn?

Although I am a member of the “food police” (aka: a registered dietitian), never when I was eating pizza or salty snacks as a child was water an option. It was always some sweetened bevereage like juice, soda, or a juice drink.

Research in press by Cornwell and McAlister shows that young adults pair high-calorie foods with soft drinks versus water. In children they observed that more vegetables are consumed when water was offered; the opposite was seen when a sugar-sweetened beverage was available. A few selected implications mentioned by Cornwell and McAlister are to:

  • replace soda with water as the beverage with “value meals,”
  • have water fountains in place of soda fountains at buffets, and
  • offer water at meals and snacks to increase children’s intake of vegetables.

The findings from Cornwell and McAlister offer us an opportunity to reflect on what beverage choices we were given while growing up and how our beverage preferences are impacted by this presently.

Do you always have a sweetened drink with chips or pretzels? What about trying water instead?

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