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Study to help kids eat more fruit and veg

A new study aiming to identify the best methods of encouraging pre-schoolers to try new fruit and vegetables has been launched at Loughborough University. 

More people than ever are aware of the importance of a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables, but many parents report difficulties encouraging their children to eat them, or to try new varieties.

University researcher Clare Holley is looking for parents of children aged two to four to take part in a focus groups to share their experiences - both good and bad - of feeding and offering fruit and vegetables to their children.

Clare explains:

“Most children go through a phase of ‘neophobia’ beginning around the age of two and extending into middle childhood where they may reject a wide variety of foods, both new and known, including fruit and vegetables. This neophobic phase serves an evolutionary purpose, to stop newly mobile children from eating foods which may do them harm.

“Unfortunately, with little information available to parents about this phase and how best to avoid the potential tantrums and upsets that go along with it, many parents are left feeling disheartened and concerned about their child’s eating habits.

“I want to speak to parents to understand what does and doesn’t work for different children, in order to develop practical tools and advice to help alleviate the stress parents experience whilst trying to give their child a healthy and balanced diet.”

To take part in the study call 01509 228151 and ask for Clare or email

Clare is part of the Loughborough University Centre for Research into Eating Disorders (LUCRED) within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS).