Serving larger portions of fruits and vegetables together at dinner promotes intake of both foods among young children

Kevin C. Mathias, Barbara J. Rolls, Leann L. Birch, Tanja V.E. Kral, Elizabeth L. Hanna, Adam Davey, Jennifer O. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Serving larger portions of energy-dense foods has been shown to promote children's energy intake at meals. Whether larger portions increase children's intake of both fruits and vegetables (F&V) is less clear. A 2×2 withinsubjects design systematically varied portion sizes of fruit (75 vs 150 g) and vegetable (75 vs 150 g) side dishes served at dinner. Children's F&V liking was measured using a validated tasting method. Thirty children aged 4 to 6 years were tested in a laboratory setting at 5:00 PM on weekdays from November 2008 through March 2009. Mixed linear models were used to determine effects of fruit portion size, vegetable portion size, and their interaction on food and energy intakes. Data are presented as model-based means±standard error unless otherwise indicated. When portions were doubled, children increased their vegetable intake by 37% (12±4 g; P<0.01) and their fruit intake by 70% (41±6 g; P<0.01). Vegetable portion size effects were not influenced by offering more fruit and vice versa. Portion size effects were limited to children who liked that particular food. Total meal energy intake did not vary by portion size condition. These results indicate that serving larger F&V portions at meals can be used to promote young children's intake of both foods without influencing total meal energy intake. Effects were not seen in children who disliked F&V, suggesting a need to combine increased F&V portions with strategies to increase their acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-270
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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