A mom's brilliant 'sticker' trick is a surefire way to get children to eat fruits and vegetables

  • Jane Stine, a parenting blogger, recently shared a creative hack, which encourages her 3-year-old to eat fruits and vegetables with excitement. 
  • While shopping, Stine discreetly puts stickers on produce so that her son will be more inclined to pick those foods to put in the shopping cart. 
  • A 2012 study from Cornell University found that children were 40% more likely to add an apple to their school lunch over a cookie when the fruit had an Elmo sticker on it.
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Getting children to eat fruits and vegetables might require all of 10 minutes of effort and about $2.

In a recent Facebook post, Jane Stine, a mom of a 3-year-old, shared her failproof method that gets her child to eat healthful foods with enthusiasm. Before heading to the supermarket, Stine packs a stack of stickers that bear her child's favorite characters. Once Stine arrives, she applies the stickers to fruits and vegetables all over the grocery store, and her child naturally — and excitedly — gravitates towards those foods.

"You know how kids always want Paw Patrol yogurt or Disney waffles or whatever?" Stine wrote in her post. "Bring your own stickers to the grocery store and start sticking. Today we're having Winnie the Pooh brand spaghetti squash. It goes perfectly with Toy Story broccoli." 

Jane Stine found that putting stickers of her son's favorite characters on vegetables got him excited about eating them.
Jane Stine / Facebook

Kids are more likely to choose a healthful food if it has a fun sticker on it, a 2012 study found

There's scientific evidence to back up Stine's method.

Among 200 children, 40% more likely to add an apple to their school lunch over a cookie when the fruit had an Elmo sticker on it, a Cornell University study published in 2012 found. The study was conducted over five days with children between the ages of 8 and 10.

A 2012 Cornell University study found evidence to back up Stine's hack.
Paula Bronstein/Getty

Julie Burns, a registered dietitian, agrees that making meals fun is an effective way to help vary up a child's diet, she wrote in a Parents piece last year. 

"The more creative the meal is," Burns wrote, "the greater the variety of foods my kids eat."

She also suggests giving foods silly names. For example, she'll refer to "broccoli florets" as "baby trees" or "dinosaur food."

Calling foods by silly names can also get selective children eager to eat vegetables and fruits.
Getty Images

Using cookie cutters to shape fruits and vegetables may motivate kids to eat more produce

Burns also uses cookie cutters to form foods into appealing shapes, which she said her kids appreciate.

Stine's approach appears to be a hit among parents. Since March 2, her post has gotten 17,000 likes on Facebook.

"It's just a fun thing to do," Stine told Today."They're only little kids for a short amount of time, and if you do something, a regular chore, and can make it a little more fun and it basically costs nothing, why not?"

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