Feeding, Eating and Succeeding Together (FEAST)


Many nutrition programs provide information on the nutritional quality of food and tangible skills to prepare these foods for their families. However, parents and caregivers rarely receive information on how to apply this dietary knowledge in their daily lives to create an environment for high-quality meals delivered with feeding practices that support their children’s health. In other words, while parents and caregivers may be well-equipped with knowledge about what to feed children, a lack of knowledge and skills about how to feed can derail the best of intentions.


FEAST trains educators to work with parents and caregivers on evidence-based feeding strategies aligned with best practices. The program’s strategies are based on Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding, a model endorsed by a broad range of children’s health and nutrition experts. Children fed using these strategies are more likely to enjoy a wider variety of foods, rely on internal hunger and fullness cues to regulate eating, and behave well at mealtimes. Ultimately, they have a lower risk for overweight and obesity.

Key Outcomes

  • The FEAST curriculum is effective at improving feeding practices for participating parents/caregivers of young children.
      • Parent scores on the Feeding Your Child Survey increased after participating in the program. Parents reported changes in their child feeding practices in survey responses and attributed changes to participation in FEAST.
  • Parents/caregivers better adhered to Ellyn Satter’s model after participating in the FEAST curriculum.
      • Parent/caregiver scores on items specifically related to questions about adherence to the model increased from pretest to posttest and remained higher three months later.
      • Secondly, parent/caregiver responses to open-ended questions on the survey and to telephone interview questions show they improved their feeding practices, attributing the changes to participation in FEAST.
  • Creation and development of a FEAST online training center to reach a wider audience.
      • Since the launch of the FEAST website, UWSEM has received 3,460 total page views and have an average of 1,219 users. 

Project Summary

Feeding, Eating and Succeeding Together (FEAST) was a nutrition education curriculum for parents/caregivers of children ages 2 to 6. Rather than educating parents about specific foods or portion sizes, FEAST aimed to help parents and caregivers feed in a way that provides the appropriate structure, support and leadership children need to develop positive eating habits, appropriate mealtime behaviors, and a healthy relationship with food.

FEAST used the Satter Feeding Dynamics Model and its Division of Responsibility in Feeding method, which encourages parents to take leadership with the “what, where, and when” of feeding, and to give children autonomy over the “how much and whether” of eating. FEAST also incorporated an experiential learning method called dialogue education to deliver curriculum. This method engaged participants in purposeful conversation and created a safe space where parents/caregivers reflected on their own childhood eating experiences, shared their child feeding problems, discussed possible solutions, and worked toward behavior change.

In May 2019, UWSEM hosted their first pilot to train FEAST educators on the Satter Feeding Dynamics Model. The positive feedback received from pilot participants and partner organizations inspired UWSEM to scale FEAST. This grant allowed them to take findings from their pilot to reach additional families and communities. Through the course of 18 months, 62 parents/caregivers throughout Wayne and Oakland counties participated in FEAST trainings within community centers (e.g., ACCESS, Oakland Family Services). Additional individuals were also reached through the FEAST online training center, which complemented in-person trainings and hosted a variety of resources for educators, health care professionals as well as parents and caregivers.

Evaluation completed after the grant project concluded supported the key outcomes listed above. For example, we found through post-text evaluation that parents and caregivers felt more confident in feeding their children after finishing the program, while also reporting changes in their feeding practices that aligned with the FEAST curriculum. The outcomes of FEAST demonstrated that nutrition education that focuses on the feeding relationship is imperative in reducing mealtime stress, improving children’s behavior at mealtimes, and increasing children’s comfort around new food—all key factors in helping children learn to like new foods and consume a varied diet. In addition, the outcomes add to a breadth of research suggesting nutrition messaging should emphasize behavioral issues—the how of feeding—rather than solely what children are eating.  



Lead Organization
United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM)

Partner Organization
Oakland Family Services
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services
Leaps and Bounds Family Services
CARE of Southeastern Michigan
Starfish Family Services
Black Family Development, Inc.

Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties



Total Budget

Health Fund Investment

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