Children may be more likely to eat healthily if they drink water with their meals.
This is according to research carried out by T Bettina Cornwell of the University of Oregon (UO) and Anna McAlister of Michigan State University.
As part of the investigation, 75 kids between the ages of three and five were tested to find out their views on food and drink pairings.
The children were more likely to eat raw vegetables such as carrots or red peppers when accompanied with water rather than a sweetened beverage.
"Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks," said Ms Cornwell. "Our simple recommendation is to serve water with all meals."
She added exposure to certain combinations at home and in restaurants means youngsters get used to them from an early age.
Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice-president for research and innovation at UO, noted the findings could have an effect on how food is marketed and served going forward.