a dietary survey was carried out among preschool children and their families drawn from twenty-one preschool education and feeding centre (ceapes), in seven towns of the state of s. paulo. the diatary data from children and families were obtained by applying the weighed food intake method combined with the recall method, during 24 hours, and collected by home visits. simultaneously data on school lunches concerning their composition and influence on home meals were collected. about half the preschool children showed energy deficiency though only fifteen percent of them showed inadequate protein intake. the most outstanding dietary deficiencies in the preschool children related to vitamin a, calcium, niacin and ascorbic acid. with regard to the families, the most striking deficiencies related to vitamin a and calcium. the school lunch showed some influence on the dietary intake of children, insofar as number of meals and quantity of food eaten at home were concerned.