Children's Portion Selection Is Predicted by Food Liking and Is Related to Intake in Response to Increased Portions

Hanim E. Diktas, Kathleen L. Keller, Liane S. Roe, Barbara J. Rolls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: When children choose amounts of food to eat, it is unclear what influences the portions they select and whether their selections are related to the amounts they consume. Objectives: Using a computer survey, we investigated the effect of food liking on portion selection in middle childhood and examined how children's selections were related to measured intake at meals in which portions of all foods were varied across 4 test days. Methods: Fifty-one children aged 7–10 y completed a computer survey of 20 common foods with a range of energy density. For each food, the survey presented sliding scales with 5 images varying in portion size and children indicated their liking and the amount they would eat at a specified meal or snack. On 4 test days in a randomized crossover design, children were served a meal of 6 foods from the survey with portions of 100%, 133%, 167%, or 200% of baseline amounts. Data were analyzed using random coefficients models. Results: Across the 20 foods used in the survey, portion selection ratings were predicted by food liking ratings (P < 0.0001). After accounting for liking, portion selection ratings did not vary by food energy density (P = 0.50). At the meals, intake of all 6 foods increased when larger portions were served (P = 0.002). Furthermore, the selected portion of a food on the survey was positively related both to intake of that food at the 100%-portion meal (P = 0.014) and to increased intake as larger portions were served (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Children aged 7–10 y were able to use a computer survey to choose food portions that predicted their measured intake in response to increased portions. The relation of liking to selection and intake indicates that to promote children's consumption of larger portions of low-energy–dense foods such as fruits and vegetables, these foods must be well liked by the children. This trial was registered at as NCT02759523.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2287-2296
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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