July 12, 2024
Preschoolers' Snack Consumption

Preschoolers’ Snack Consumption and Self-Regulation Impacted by Calorie Density

Preschool children’s energy intake increases with calorie density (ED) but then decreases when high-ED foods are limited in quantity, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study sought to determine if children, similar to adults, adjust their portion sizes based on ED levels. Researchers conducted two randomized crossover trials at two childcare centers, observing 94 children aged 3 to 5 years over five days. The study included 30 menus that adhered to US childcare program nutritional guidelines, totaling 6,355 meals. During snack times, low-ED and high-ED options were offered, with high-ED items served in smaller quantities. Findings showed that children consumed nearly 1,000 kilocalories per day, with main meals accounting for 43% of daily weight consumed, snacks for 24%, and milk for 33%. The consumption of high-ED snack items was higher than low-ED items, resulting in increased energy intake throughout the day. However, researchers did not observe a threshold level at which children adjusted their portion sizes due to consumed ED. The study’s limited high-ED food availability and participants from high-education and high-income backgrounds may limit the generalizability of the findings. Further experimental studies are needed to explore the relationship between ED intake and food availability.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it