To use the multiphase optimisation strategy framework to develop and evaluate a multi-component initiative for use in long day care centres to increase children’s vegetable intake while in care
(1) To evaluate the independent and combined effects of three initiatives (1. Food Provision, 2. Mealtime Environment, 3. Curriculum) to identify the optimised combination of initiatives for increasing children’s vegetable intake while in long day care.
(2) To undertake a process evaluation to understand acceptability and factors that influence adoption of the initiatives.
1) Food provision initiative: comprised an online training module and online menu assessment tool (MAT) for centre cooks. The online training (45-55 mins) covered topics such as menu planning and the importance of healthy eating. The MAT compared compliance of the centre menu with the Healthy Eating Advisory Service Menu Planning Guidelines for LDC and provided recommendations to meet food group serve recommendations
2) Mealtime environment initiative: comprised an online interactive mealtime training module for centre educators. The training (45-55 mins) provided evidence-based strategies of feeding practices to promote vegetable acceptance and liking during mealtimes.
3) Curriculum initiative: comprised a curriculum package for centre teachers that included 16 (10–20-minute) lessons and snack time activities. It was adapted from the evidence-based ‘Taste and Learn’ curriculum, based on experiential learning, sensory education, and vegetable preference development in children.