Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of



Virginia C Stage

Date of this Version



Elrakaiby, M., Hasnin, S., Stage, V. C., & Dev, D. A.* (2021). ‘Read for Nutrition’ Program Improves Preschool Children’s Liking and Consumption of Target Vegetable. Public Health Nutrition, 1-24.


©The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society.

CC-BY license


Objective: To determine whether the ‘Read for Nutrition’ programme would increase liking and consumption of broccoli (a target vegetable) in preschool children and test acceptability and practicality of the programme.

Design: Pilot pre-post intervention study, where childcare teachers received training and coaching followed by reading the book ‘Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli’ multiple times with the children during a three-week intervention.

Setting: Five classrooms of Educare, Lincoln, Nebraska in 2018.

Participants: Sixty-nine (11 to 16 children per classroom) preschool-aged children and sixteen teachers (minimum, three per classroom).

Results: Average total consumption of broccoli increased 35 % (0·14 ounces or 0·05th cup) after the ‘Read for Nutrition’ programme (t = 2·66; P = 0·01; 95 % CIs (0·035, 0·246)) for all children. Proportional consumption increased for children who received ≥ five exposures to the book (t46 = 2·77; P = 0·008). Exposures to the book predicted proportional consumption (β = 0·365; P = 0·002). Liking of broccoli increased (W69 = 2·2, P = 0·03) as well. Teachers rated the programme as acceptable, practical and enjoyable to children and to themselves.

Conclusions: Programmes such as ‘Read for Nutrition’ have the potential to improve children’s vegetable liking and consumption in early care and education settings with only book readings and no exposure to a real vegetable.