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Choices, choices, choices: the use of dietary rules and routines in the feeding of toddlers and preschoolers

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineMeeting abstract

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number7 Suppl.
Number of pages1
Pages (from-to)S63
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date30/06/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventSNEB 2016 Annual Conference Proceedings — 49th Annual Conference: Next Practice in Nutrition Education - San Diego, United States
Duration: 30/07/20162/08/2016


ConferenceSNEB 2016 Annual Conference Proceedings — 49th Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego



Young children depend on caregivers to make healthy food choices on their behalf. This research aims to provide an understanding of the lived experience of caregivers who must devise strategies in order to provide healthy foods and beverages to toddlers and preschoolers.

Design, Setting, and Participants

In-depth, in-home interviews (n=17) were conducted with caregivers (14 = female, 3 = male, ages = 20-46y, low to high income) in Switzerland. The model, “Food Choice Process over the Life Course”, was used as a theoretical framework. The interviews explored experiences, attitudes and perceptions about the provision of foods and beverages to children (1-5y).

Outcome Measures and Analysis

Interview transcripts underwent a thematic analysis and key themes were developed from the data.


A key theme identified dietary rules and routines enacted in the family setting to influence feeding behavior. Rules and routines centered on foods and beverages to be encouraged or limited; finishing, or not, the entire meal; and the consumption of dessert items following meals. Participants recounted that dietary rules originated from childhood memories, or, via public health information sources.

Conclusions and Implications

Dietary rules and routines provided short-cuts for caregivers to standardize feeding practices. The origin of dietary rules in childhood memories is consistent with the life-course notion of the theoretical framework. Dietary rules, in general, were consistent with anti-obesity behaviors. Participant description of rules and routines provided an understanding of feeding styles and practices. Further research may explore to what extent dietary rules and routines may be indicative of adherence to dietary guidelines and appropriate caregiver feeding practices.


Nestec S.A.