The importance of healthy eating is understood by parents yet the struggle to cope with toddler health issues abound everywhere! What parents often fail to understand that healthy eating is not just about eating organic and fresh foods. They also need to give the right amount or portion of foods to the kids. This is where most people lack any clear concept. Nowadays, you will find everything from French fries to fruit juices being served in over-sized containers. The pity is most people keep on consuming those foods and beverages without bothering about right portion! No wonder they fail to understand the importance of portion control for their babies. This has led to widespread childhood obesity and related ailments.
Determining Ideal Portion Sizes For Toddlers
While your kids require adequate nutrients and energy to stay healthy and grow as desired, portion control becomes a necessity. To achieve this, you need to figure out daily calorie consumption by your kids. Dieticians and paediatricians agree that toddlers below 3 years and above 1 year require 40 calories for each inch of their height. So, these toddlers require 1300 to 1500 calories from their foods every day. Not all toddlers have similar health and genetic setup and their calorie requirements may vary a little.
Serving size for a toddler should roughly be one fourth of that of an adult person. Below listed are ideal serving sizes for commonplace foods or toddlers:
- An ounce of fish, meat
- Quarter of sliced bread
- 2 spoons of vegetables
- ½ cup of milk
- 4 spoons of cereal
- 1 boiled egg
- Small bowls of fruit salad and soup
Tips To Avoid Exceeding Portion Sizes For Toddlers
Use the below listed tips to avoid giving foods to babies in excess amounts:
- Always use small sized utensils to give food to the toddlers. For example, you can use small bowls, spoons and pots to give food to them. This works the best to avoid over feeding them.
- Do not let the kids eat directly from food cartons or containers. It may make them overeat eventually.
- When you are outside with kids, do not give them beverage cans and food packs meant for adults. Buy small sized fruit juice packs or other foods.
Encouraging Kids To Make Right Portion Choices
It is not just enough to monitor how much chicken soup or pasta your kids are consuming. You also need to teach them the nuances and importance of food portion control! If the kids cannot figure out how many scoops or spoonful of foods should be ideal for them, let them use the hands. As it is, toddlers have smaller hands and so a few handfuls of rice or vegetables should suffice for them! Of course, ensure they clean their hands well before taking foods.
You need to remember some food ingredients and condiments can be bad for kids even if taken in small amounts. Examples include butter, fat laden salad dressing and mayonnaise. It would be wise to keep them away from the dining table.
It is also important that you set an example for the kids to follow for portion control of food. Toddlers often look up to their parents for nearly everything in life. So, if you want the kids to learn and follow food portion control, you should do the same too!
Sometimes, active kid may feel hungrier than usual and their appetite may not be doused with the set portion of foods. At such times, offer them salads, vegetables and soups instead of ready-made fast foods and snacks.