veggie scam: how to get your child to eat his greens without losing your wits

Veggie scam: How to get your child to eat the greens using optical illusion?

Posted on Posted in parenting

Are you at your wit's end to get your child to eat the greens? 

My child refused vegetables when she turned four. For some unexplained reason, her palate narrowed down drastically. The only vegetable she would eat was broccoli stir-fried and not boiled. We had broccoli daily that I could almost feel broccoli coming out of my ears.

When she first started on solid foods, she would eat every healthy meal that I prepared. I was so pleased. So, the drastic change in her palette was devastating for me. I often questioned, " Why in the world has she become such a picky eater?"

It was my pleasure to cook but a pressure for her to eat. Dinner was certainly no fun at all.

I did many trials and errors and had compiled the methods that had worked in a guidebook called HOW TO GET YOUR KID TO EAT VEG WITH NO TRICK OR TREAT OR FLUFF AND BLUFF, which you can download here.

In this blog post, I would like to share with you one trick that has helped to entice her to eat her vegetables. And that is The Concept of Optical Illusion.

Any healthy meals for kids must include a good half portion of vegetables.


How can you use the concept of optical illusion to help your kid eat more vegetables?

First: Optical Illusion

Take a look at the image below. Which black dot is bigger?



The answer:  the black dots are identical.

The black dot on the right does look bigger than the dot on the left, doesn't it? We are led by our brain to compare the dots to the circle enclosing it and we instinctively think that the circle on the left is smaller than the one on the right.

This is the Delboeuf Illusion. As defined in, "the Delboeuf Illusion is an optical illusion of relative size perception. In the best-known version of the illusion, two circles of identical size have been placed near to each other and one is surrounded by an annulus; the surrounded circle then appears larger than the non-surrounded circle if the annulus is close, while appearing smaller than the non-surrounded circle if the annulus is distant."

Using the same principle, we could delude our kids to eat more vegetables, couldn't we?

Let's take a look at the following example.

A healthy mix of stir fried sweet beans, carrots, tempeh and onions is served on a 11" (28cm) plate. The same amount was placed onto a smaller 8" (20cm) plate.

Visually, the smaller plate looks fuller as the vegetables are filled almost to the brim.

When the smaller plate is placed next to the bigger plate, visually it seems that there is less vegetables on the bigger plate than the smaller plate. The wider perimeter around the vegetables deceives us to think so.

A child who eats with the big plate would think that he is eating proportionately less vegetables than mommy who eats from the smaller plate.

Use optical illusion to get your kids to eat more vegetables.
Mixed vegetables served on a 11" (28cm) plate, placed on a rectangular napkin.
Use optical illusions to get your kids to eat more vegetables
The same amount of mixed vegetables served onto a 8" (20cm) plate, placed on the same rectangular napkin.


Second: Surface Area Deception

Take a look at the images below. Both the pink bowl and the white low bowl contain the same amount of delicious, nutrition packed pumpkin and carrot soup.

But do they look the same in amount?

Use relative size perception to get your kids to eat more vegetables
Pumpkin carrot soup (200ml) served in a 5.5" (14cm) diameter bowl.
Use relative size perception to get your child to eat the greens
Pumpkin carrot soup (200ml) served in a 9" (23cm) diameter low bowl.

Visually the pink bowl seems to have less content than the white low bowl. The surface area of the soup in the white low bowl is larger than the soup in the normal pink bowl. Even though the pink bowl is deeper than the low bowl, we still get the impression that the low bowl contains more soup.

To a child who is hesitant in attempting new food, half a bowl of soup in a deeper bowl would be less intimidating than a wide shallow bowl.


Third: Preconceived Perception of Size

Generally, a teacup would be smaller than a bowl. And the bowl would be smaller than the plate.

use preconceived perception of size to get your kids to eat more vegetables

Of course, there are creative designs that defy this general perception.

Putting aside unconventional design but playing up on unconventional presentation, let's serve the soup in a teacup.

Relative to a bowl, a cup is petite. A child could cup it securely with her tiny hands. To a child, the little soup in the little cup is little enough for her to manage.

Using preconceived perception of size to get your child to eat the greens
Eat the Oreo Way: First you break it. And you dunk it. Then you eat it.

My daughter is the first person to read my blog, even draft copies that are yet to be published. As I watched her read this post, I noticed a smile illuminated on her face. Did she feel that she had been disillusioned or scammed? Or was she just quietly thinking if she could apply this brilliance on her own children in many years to come?

Pin this on your Pinterest board.

Do you have any thoughts to share? I would love to hear from you. Do email me. I appreciate and read every email that floats into my inbox.


Credit: Featured image from  


You pleaded , "Just one more bite."

You threatened with "or else"

You bribed with screen time.

You tricked with epic food disguise.

You are just sick and tired of yelling, "Eat your veg!" to your child who heard but did not listen. And who would cringe or sulk or retort with "ewwww" and "yuk".



is an ebook that provides valuable tips that are effective and immediately actionable, and shows you how you could help your child eat his greens, without him feeling coerced to do so.


Liz Dju

Liz Dju

Liz has been a full-time homemaker and dedicated mom to a beautiful daughter for a major part of her adult life. And being so, her passion has naturally been navigated towards education, food and nutrition. 

She loves food - all food especially spicy authentic Asian dishes. She sometimes wonders if she eats to live or lives to eat.
As much as she is adventurous with food, she also likes to cook. A proponent for home cooking for better health, she believes that it's only when we start to cook that we become more aware of what goes into the food we eat and vigilant of our food portion sizes.

She's a relatively good home-chef and could make a mean Salt Baked Chicken. But she claims that her late mother-in-law was way much better and her only regret is, in her own words,"Darn…I wish I had written down her recipes."
Liz Dju

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