Program to promote vegetable consumption in preschool children

The Veggies4myHeart project is an initiative of ciTechCare, whose main goal is to promote the consumption of vegetables in pre-school children. For this purpose, the digital game Veggies4myHeart (now available on PlayStore and AppStore) was developed with the participation of teachers and students of the degrees in Dietetics and Nutrition and Digital Games and Multimedia, of the Polytechnic of Leiria. Besides this educational tool, a children’s story and a sticker booklet with the same characters of the digital game were also created.
With the support of these educational tools, food education sessions are held in kindergartens where the five vegetables from the Veggies4myHeart game are promoted – carrot, lettuce, cucumber, tomato and red cabbage. 

These vegetables were chosen because they are the most common in school canteens.
The methodology of the project is based on the implementation of 5 educational sessions with the support of educational tools created for this purpose (digital game, children’s story and booklet) in association with the repeated exposure to the five vegetables and their sensory exploration (touch, taste, sound) by children.
One week before the educational sessions, the knowledge and consumption of vegetables by the children in the classroom are evaluated, and the same evaluation is repeated one week after the educational sessions end. The assessment tools were created by the research team of this project and consist of identifying fifteen foods through photographs, recognizing the vegetables in this group of fifteen foods, and identifying the functions in the human body associated with each of the five vegetables in the project.
Veggies4myHeart aims to fill one of the most important gaps in children’s diet, allowing contact and acceptance of the most commonly eaten vegetables in school canteens, through a methodology already used in other international projects and with very satisfactory results.

Keywords: Nutrition Education, Vegetables, Preschool children, Health literacy, Serious Games

Principal Investigator

Cátia Braga-Pontes

Research Team
Marlene Lages;
Maria Pedro Guarino;
Sara Simões-Dias;
Rita Novo.

Since 2018 – to date

Institutional Partners and Others
Leiria City Hall;
Computer Science and Communication Research Centre – CIIC;
Polytechnic of Leiria;
Center for Innovation in Technologies and Health Care – ciTechCare;
Geneva School of Health Sciences, HES-SO.

Website: Não Aplicável

Challenges Accelerator – Challenges in Cardiology;
CCISP-HES-SO – Seed money for joint Swiss-Portuguese academic projects.