A new study gives a simple way to get kids to eat more vegetables – by growing them.

Research from Cornell University says if kids grow vegetables, they are more likely to eat them.

This study measured the change in vegetable selection and plate waste when school-grown greens were incorporated in the school lunch.

Across the hundreds of students sampled, salad consumption was about five times higher when students had grown some of the foods they were offered.

While this project focused on school lunches in the US, it is reasonable to imagine that similar effects could be found when incorporating home-grown vegetable into kids’ dinner or lunch.

The researchers measured the selections and plate waste of a total of 370 school students over three separate days.

When salad contained produce grown by students, the percentage of those who selected salads with their meals increased from 2 per cent to 10 per cent and on average, students ate two-thirds of their salads.

But sadly, in addition to increased salad selection, the amount of plate waste also increased.

This study implies the larger potential benefits of school garden programs, and the likelihood that being involved in the growing of healthy foods makes young people more inclined to eat them.

“We see great promise with this research,” concluded co-author Drew Hanks of Ohio State University.

“The first hurdle in increasing vegetable consumption is simply getting kids to put them on their plate.”

More information is available on Cornell’s Food Lab website