This study tested whether varying the portion of low-energy-dense vegetable soup served at the start of a meal affects meal energy and vegetable intakes in children. Subjects were 3- to 5-year-olds (31 boys and 41 girls) in daycare facilities. Using a crossover design, children were served lunch once a week for four weeks. On three occasions, different portions of tomato soup (150, 225, and 300 g) were served at the start of the meal, and on one occasion no soup was served. Children had 10 min to consume the soup before being served the main course. All foods were consumed ad libitum. The primary outcomes were soup intake as well as energy and vegetable intake at the main course. A mixed linear model tested the effect of soup portion size on intake. Serving any portion of soup reduced entrée energy intake compared with serving no soup, but total meal energy intake was only reduced when 150 g of soup was served. Increasing the portion size increased soup and vegetable intake. Serving low-energy-dense, vegetable soup as a first course is an effective strategy to reduce children's intake of a more energy-dense main entrée and increase vegetable consumption at the meal.
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