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Struggling to get your children to eat enough veg? Loughborough researchers may have the answer!

Many parents will know all too well the struggle with encouraging children to eat more vegetables.

However, researchers at Loughborough University have outlined novel ways to ensure that youngsters get their five a day.

A new research project led by Dr Chris McLeod, Professor Emma Haycraft and Professor Amanda Daley (all School of Sport, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences) is exploring the various ways that vegetables can be included at the breakfast table.

“Vegetables can be incorporated into a child’s breakfast in many ways depending on their age,” explained Dr McLeod.

“They can either be included within foods such as in an omelette with mushrooms and peppers, in a smoothie by adding spinach, or in porridge by adding grated carrot.

“They could also be added as an accompaniment to a main breakfast meal, for example some cucumber sticks, mushrooms or sugar snap peas alongside their regular food. Ultimately, any food can be consumed at any time of day – it’s just our learned social norms that lead us to believe that particular foods are “breakfast foods” and others are not.”

He added: “Vegetables tend to be vitamin and mineral-rich foods with low calorie content, meaning that in terms of health and weight maintenance they give children bang for their buck.”

Initial findings from the first study looking at whether vegetables can be offered to children at breakfast in a nursery/kindergarten setting are expected in early 2023. A commentary on the subject can be viewed by visiting here:

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 22/194

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, and 10th in both the Guardian University League Table 2022 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.