Effects of doubling the portion size of fruit and vegetable side dishes on children's intake at a meal

Tanja V.E. Kral, April C. Kabay, Liane S. Roe, Barbara J. Rolls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Increasing the portion size of energy-dense entrées has been shown to increase children's energy intake during a meal. It remains to be investigated whether serving larger portions to children can be used to promote intake of more healthful foods, such as fruits and vegetables (FV). The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of increasing the portion size of FV side dishes on children's intake. Forty-three children (22 boys, 21 girls), aged 5-6 years, were served dinner once a week for 2 weeks. Each dinner consisted of pasta with tomato sauce, three FV side dishes (broccoli, carrots, and applesauce), and milk. The portion size of the FV was doubled between experimental conditions whereas the size of the pasta remained constant. Doubling the portion size of the side dishes resulted in a 43% increase in children's intake of the fruit side dish (P = 0.001), but did not affect children's intake of the two vegetable side dishes (P 0.60). Further, when the portion size of FV side dishes was doubled, children ate significantly less of the pasta (P = 0.04). The difference in meal energy intake between portion size conditions (19.5 16.3kcal) was not significant (P = 0.24). Although more studies are needed to understand whether increases in portion size can influence vegetable intake, children did eat more in response to a large quantity of a preferred low energy-dense fruit side dish at meals. Thus variations in portion size can be used strategically to help children achieve the recommended intake of fruits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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