Do you know what a child sized portion is?

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How much should my child be eating?

As child nutrition specialist I get a lot of questions about child sized portions. I witness many families that have high expectations for what their child needs to eat.

The lack of knowledge some families have regarding child sized portions is not their fault, but due to the lack of education that is provided to families about feeding their children. We spend much time learning how to have a baby, but when the baby arrives and it feels like we our on our own for the next 18 years. If you have felt that way about feeding your child sign up to receive my newsletter to receive tips to feed your family.

Parental awareness of child sized portions can help to decrease pressure at the table, guide parents to offer appropriate amounts, and help lead the child to regulate their appetite.

3 key points about portion sizes

1)      Recommended portion sizes are meant to be a guide. The portion sizes are a guide to help parents and caregivers know what is realistic. It is not a requirement for what the child needs to eat.

2)      Providing education about appropriate portion sizes helps families realize when food is over served. Many restaurants serve well over a portion size of food. The awareness of this may help families determine that splitting meals is best or planning for leftovers, which can help save money when eating out.

3)      Discovering minimal recommended child sized portions may help parents relax on those days when their child does not seem that hungry. The child may be choosing to eat smaller portions that day and that is ok.

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Many times, real world references are used as guides to determine portion sizes. A common real-world reference that is used to determine portions is someone’s hand. The problem with referring to someone’s hand is that there are many different sizes. For example, my hand is a lot smaller than that of a professional basketball player. That is why I have created a graphic using items that have a standard size. The standard items I like to refer to are a golf ball, tennis ball, baseball, and a deck of playing cards. Click here for your free infographic of my 4-item portion size guide to help you have realistic expectations for your child’s intake. For more information like this guide please sign up for the monthly newsletter.

For more detail on different child sized portions refer to this guide from the American Academy of Pediatrics.