We’ve all seen kids with crayons—they love their colors, we know! But new data suggests that fascination extends to mealtime too. According to a Cornell University study, kids prefer food plates with seven different items and six colors, whereas adults want just three items and three colors.

“Compared with adults, children not only prefer plates with more elements and colors, but also their entrees placed in the front of the plate and with figurative designs,” says lead researcher Wansink. He suggests placing bacon like a smile or peas in a heart shape. And those cute three-section plates at the kid’s table? Mom-and-dad approved, sure, but your little ones want more. Get creative to make healthy meals fun!

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