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The 3Rs of encouraging children’s healthy eating

A young child eating a carrot

In this episode of the “Experts in Sport” podcast, host Martin Foster sits down with Senior Lecturer in Psychology Dr Clare Holley, Research Associate Dr Lucy Porter, and Dan Parker – Chief Executive of VegPower.

They discuss Dr Holley and Dr Porter’s research into children’s eating behaviours, highlighting three methods known as “the 3Rs” – Role-modelling, Re-offering, and Rewarding – which parents and caregivers can use to encourage them to try vegetables. She also explains child temperament, and how it may affect the process of implementing the 3Rs.

Additionally, Dr Holley details the process of founding and developing VegStars, an app that aims to assist parents in the process of putting the 3Rs into practice over a 2-3 week period. The app contains features such as a daily tracker, a fun game for children and a troubleshooting guide .

Lastly, Dan Parker joins the conversation to discuss more strategies on organically normalizing healthy eating as the children grow older, as well as assessing the importance of taking action as early as possible.

Listen to the episode online:

Dr Holley is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. Her research focuses on how we can promote healthy eating behaviours and reduce unhealthy eating behaviours among children. This includes developing and testing public health interventions. She has a particular interest in working with children and families who experience food insecurity. She is currently working with multiple national third-sector partners who deliver free to attend holiday clubs for children from disadvantaged communities, as well as those funded by the Department for Education. She is also working with the national not-for-profit organisation Veg Power whose mission is to inspire children to love vegetables.

Dr Porter is a Research Associate in SSEHS, and a member of the Loughborough University Centre for Research into Eating Disorders and behaviours (LUCRED). She completed a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Psychological Research Methods at the University of Exeter, before continuing on to complete a PhD investigating the effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of food-specific inhibition training (a kind of “healthy eating brain training”) as a behaviour change intervention for children.

Dan Parker has worked in Marketing and Advertising for 25 years for many of the world’s largest food brands. As Chief Executive of Veg Power, he now uses that experience to encourage kids to eat more vegetables.

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The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.