Snack consumption and waste by preschool children served "cute" versus regular snacks

  • Branen L
  • Fletcher J
  • Hilbert L
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Abstract

Objective: To determine if preschool children would eat and waste different amounts of food when served snacks in a regular versus a "cute" form. Design: Preschool children were served 6 snacks in a cute form and the same snacks in a regular form using the same food components during 24 snack sessions. Children served as their own controls. Subjects/Setting: Thirty-nine children ages 36 to 60 months (20 girls, 19 boys) in a university child development laboratory. Main Outcome Measures: Snack portions eaten and wasted and time for eating. Analysis: Data were analyzed using a 2 x 6 factorial analysis of variance, with snack form (cute or regular) and snack components as the 2 factors. Results: There was no significant difference in children's snack consumption or waste between cute and regular versions of snacks. It took children an average of 2 minutes longer to eat the cute snacks. Conclusions and Implications: There is no apparent advantage to serving cute snacks in terms of increased consumption or decreased waste. Further research should be conducted on children's mealtime behaviors when served cute foods to learn more about children's responses to the overall appearance of their food.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Feeding practices
  • Food intake
  • Preschool children

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Authors

  • Laurel Branen

  • Janice Fletcher

  • Leslie Hilbert

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