The Atlantic had an interesting piece yesterday about a study that Jennifer Orlet Fisher, a Temple University obesity researcher, did on preschoolers and broccoli. She found that children who disliked bitter vegetables like broccoli were more likely to eat it if they had Ranch dressing to dip it in. In fact, bitter-sensitive children ate 80 percent more broccoli when it was served with Ranch dressing.

I don’t know what kind of Ranch dressing was served in the study, but I know that many store-bought dressings can be made with ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial flavorings and undesirable preservatives.

It’s not a surprise that kids will eat their veggies if they’ve been dipped in a sweet substance that has artificial flavors in it. I’m not knocking the study or the findings, though. If it takes a little dip to get children (or even adults) to consume more fresh, raw vegetables, bring out the dip. Just be careful about which dip you choose.

Make your own using my Homemade Ranch Dressing and Dip recipe, and you’ll be able to control the ingredients that go into it. The recipe calls for mayonnaise (make your own if you don’t want to use store-bought), buttermilk and sour cream as its base. A variety of fresh and dried herbs, spices, salt and pepper flavor it. Every time I serve it (as I did this past weekend at a family party), kids and adults love it.

So don’t feel bad if your children don’t want to eat their vegetables raw without a little dip on them, just make sure the dip you give them is one you approve of.

Do you have any dip recipes that you make that help get more vegetables consumed in your home?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Ranch dip helps kids eat their veggies
Sure, you'd rather kids ate raw veggies with nothing on them, but a good homemade Ranch dip can make you feel better about letting them dip before they bite.