Allison Ritter

Name: Allison Ritter
Hometown: Brookfield, WI
Degree Pursuing: M.S. Nutrition
Advisers: Dr. Marla Reicks and Dr. Zata Vickers
Research focusHabit Formation for Parenting Practices Designed to Change Youth Vegetable Intake. 
The purpose was to evaluate habit formation for parenting practices to improve child vegetable intake. Thirty-seven low-income parent/child pairs enrolled in the study, where the child was 9-12 years old. Six practices intended to be implemented at home to encourage child vegetable consumption were incorporated into a series of 6 Cooking Matters for Families classes (one practice/class/week). Habit formation was encouraged by describing the practice, modeling within a shared dinner meal, and having parents plan and report home implementation. This approach was effective in helping parents develop habitual parenting practices to encourage vegetable consumption among children. Further evaluation is needed to determine whether these habitual practices can improve child vegetable intake.

How did you become interested in nutrition? 
Good eating habits were always a focus in my house growing up. My mom always recounts how I begged her to take me to Burger King as a child and how far I have come since those days. Going through high school, my interest in health care and science grew. I combined my healthy upbringing with my love for science and came up with nutrition.

Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota after transferring from UW-Eau Claire. I originally chose it based on its reputation and location, but underestimated the winters. After graduating, an opportunity arose in the nutrition department for me to continue on and I took it because of the good experience I had as an undergrad. 

Future plans 
My immediate plans are to complete a Dietetic Internship at The Emily Program. After that, I would like to use my skills in a hospital setting helping patients lead healthier lives. My dream job would be to work for the Food Network.