Selection and use of vegetable parenting practices did not vary by parent feeding styles: Mixed methods investigation

Appetite. 2022 Mar 1;170:105883. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105883. Epub 2021 Dec 22.


Parents influence their child's vegetable intake through their feeding style, i.e. the emotional tone established around feeding, and vegetable parenting practices (VPPs), i.e. the specific behaviors employed to influence their child's vegetable intake. A model of precision food parenting proposes that child healthy dietary intake could be optimized by the selection and implementation of effective food parenting practices. Parents use and learn from these complex interactions with their child, which are reflective of feeding style. Intervention research has targeted VPPs in general without a delineation of which practices were selected, which were used, or why they were selected. It is not clear how these users were influenced by feeding style, nor what the parent learned from the interaction. The current study used mixed methods wherein middle socioeconomic status parents of 3-5 year old children were categorized within feeding style groups (n = 122), asked to select two VPPs, implemented them for a week (n = 63), and qualitatively interviewed about their experience. Responsiveness VPPs were most commonly selected, primarily due to their perceived ease of implementation. Parents believed there would be long term positive outcomes, e.g. more vegetable intake from using the practices selected. Frequency of use depended in part on opportunity, e.g. food purchase parenting practices could only be employed during intermittent shopping events. Few differences were detected by parent feeding styles in the types of VPPs selected, frequency of use, or effectiveness. Food parenting interventions can encourage selection of specific VPPs to employ and do not appear to have to tailor the types of VPPs offered to parent feeding style. Research is needed with larger, socioeconomically diverse samples to assess optimal categorization into feeding styles and confirm the present results.

Keywords: Feeding styles; Intervention; Parenting practices; Preschool; Qualitative; Vegetables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Humans
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting* / psychology
  • Parents / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*