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Dip Dip Hooray!

By Nora Burnfield, Bastyr University Dietetic Intern

When was the last time you ate a stick of celery by itself, unaccompanied by ranch or hummus? What about raw broccoli or cauliflower? We all know that a healthy diet includes plenty of vegetables, and sometimes the easiest way to get an extra serving is to pair it with a delicious dip. It turns out, the same technique we use for ourselves can be applied to the kiddos in our lives. Serving vegetables with dips has been shown to increase vegetable consumption and acceptance amongst children.

The Research

A 2013 study by Jennifer Savage PhD and team tested the effects of offering reduced-fat dips alongside new or previously disliked vegetables on the consumption of said vegetables by children aged 3-5. Two different experiments were conducted to measure the effects.

Experiment #1 had the children taste three vegetables (one they liked, one they disliked, and one they refused- as determined by a tasting protocol before the experiment) with a plain dip and with an herb-flavored dip. The children rated each vegetable and dip combo as either “yummy”, “okay”, or “yucky”.

Experiment #2 involved the tasting of celery and steamed squash with or without their preferred dip (either pizza sauce or ranch dip). Again, the children rated the combinations on the “yummy” to “yucky” scale.

The Results

In the case of plain dip versus herbed dip, significantly more children liked the vegetable with either dip compared to on its own. However, the herbed dip was favored above the plain dip. 64% of the participants gave the vegetables a “yummy” rating with the herbed dip versus 49% with the plain dip. Remember, this includes vegetables that the kids had previously disliked or rejected.

In the squash and celery tasting, there was a 62% increase in the amount of celery eaten with a dip compared to without and the amount of squash eaten more than doubled when paired with a dip. The type of dip (pizza sauce or ranch) did not affect the results.

Wanna go for a dip?

Whether you’re trying to increase your kid’s vegetable intake or your own, pairing them with dips is a tested strategy. Here are some delectable dips to try!



Edamame Hummus

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip 

Beet Dip with Labneh 

Jennifer S. Savage, Julie Peterson, Michele Marini, Peter L. Bordi, Leann L. Birch, The Addition of a Plain or Herb-Flavored Reduced-Fat Dip Is Associated with Improved Preschoolers’ Intake of Vegetables, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 113, Issue 8, 2013, Pages 1090-1095, ISSN 2212-2672, (