A Systematic Review of Methods for Increasing Vegetable Consumption in Early Childhood

Curr Nutr Rep. 2017;6(2):157-170. doi: 10.1007/s13668-017-0202-1. Epub 2017 Apr 29.


Purpose of review: This study aims to synthesise the body of research investigating methods for increasing vegetable consumption in 2- to 5-year-old children, while offering advice for practitioners.

Recent findings: Repeated exposure is a well-supported method for increasing vegetable consumption in early childhood and may be enhanced with the inclusion of non-food rewards to incentivise tasting. Peer models appear particularly effective for increasing 2-5-year-olds' vegetable consumption. There is little evidence for the effectiveness of food adaptations (e.g. flavour-nutrient learning) for increasing general vegetable intake among this age group, although they show some promise with bitter vegetables.

Summary: This review suggests that practitioners may want to focus their advice to parents around strategies such as repeated exposure, as well as the potential benefits of modelling and incentivising tasting with non-food rewards. Intervention duration varies greatly, and considerations need to be made for how this impacts on success.

Keywords: Bitter sensitive; Child; Fussy eaters; Intervention duration; Non-food reward; Peer modelling; Repeated exposure.

Publication types

  • Review