How much do kids need to eat? Are they getting proper protein? As new parents for babies and toddlers, parents often struggle to fix a correct plate for their child in every meal.
Considering your staple diet, intolerances your kids have, or for those who are picky eaters, portion sizes need to be managed accordingly. You can visit a dietician for a customized plan or refer to reliable blogs for measurement tips, but here are a few facts that you should never miss!
Portion size depends on the age
You might have seen various diet charts and suggestions showing a half cup of milk for a 2-year toddler and a full cup for a 4-year one. What do these measures suggest? In simple words, the portion sizes for kids depend on their age.
Toddlers (between the ages of 1-3 years) broadly depend on solids, as they just came over the weaning stage. Little older kids around 4-6 years are more used to solids thus have large portions than the toddlers.
Portion sizes vary with food items, thus focus on overall nutrition
Liquid and solid portions of the same quantity have varied calories, thus differ in the food portions. If a toddler avoids eating half-cup cereal but drinks a cup of milk instead, it is entirely fine as it satiates them. Thus, parents should focus on the overall calorie intake and nutritional values rather than pestering over strict portion sizes.
Seasonal change or physical activities can change portions
Though the portion sizes are fixed to a cup or one ounce, if your child has been busy playing in the park or is dehydrated due to scorching heat, they might need more calories. Seasonal changes also affect the metabolism levels, thus change the portions required and bodily requirements.
Say, active kids might eat and drink often in summer, compared to cramped-up days in winter. Change the diet according to fresh seasonal supplies and portion out the food to fulfill all the nutritional requirements for a growing toddler.
Your child should explore various tastes
You might be limiting the options while restricting your kid to one cup of cereal or three servings of veggies. Kids below six years are new to many food items and solids and thus need a chance to explore different types. Plan your kid’s diet with colorful varieties and adjust the portions of bulky solids like bread and cereals with meat, dairy products, seeds, or nuts.
You should control overeating
Packed foods also pose a big challenge for portion control as many kids tend to eat directly from the pack. You can easily guess if your four-year-old kid eats a bag of chips, he won’t probably eat the next meal as he should.
Thus, you, as a conscious parent, should control serving sizes and portions according to your kid’s snacking quantities. Take out the required portions and serve them in plates or bowls instead of handing out the entire packet. You should also control the junk food intake and replace them with healthy snacks instead of just checking the portion sizes.