I have always had concerns when it comes to what my daughters eat in a day. P1 is such a skinny little thing but tends to eat an incredible quantity of food so we were referred to a dietitian who assured us that we were doing the right thing. But more recently I have been faced with other worries surrounding my other two girls. P2 who at weaning stage would eat absolutely everything but now barely eats a thing, and P3 who seems to just take a bite from her food and that’s it. I was really interested to learn more about the proper portion sizes my girls should be eating and the Infant & Toddler Forum have created this rather amusing video on toddler portion sizes.
The portion sizes table has it all sectioned into categories related to the different food groups. There’s a really useful introduction paragraph on each one followed by some popular foods. The size guide is tailored for infants and toddlers aged 1-4 years old. After studying the portion sizes chart I now that I am offering far, far too much food during one meal. In fact I am probably offering double the amount or more. There would definitely be a lot less food waste in this household if I had been more clued up.The survey of 1000 UK mums and dads revealed that 79% of parents routinely offer portions bigger than the recommended size range for pre-schoolers.
The thing that really shocked me actually was the section on foods high in fat and sugar. It clearly states that you should limit biscuis, cakes and puddings to once a day and the portion size for a plain biscuit is just half to one per day for this age range. I know for a fact that my girls have more than this per day which is why that shocked me. 61% of parents routinely offer their child too many sweets, with 24% of parents giving their child a whole pack of jelly sweets as a treat: this is 3 times the recommended amount. I am one of those.
73% of parents surveyed are more concerned that their child does not eat enough and I think I am one of those. Knowing that they’ve only eaten half a sausage or one mouthful of mash potato used to really worry me. But actually that’s probably about right for a whole meal portion. It’s absolutely shockingly small and I think that’s why we worry as parents. It just doesn’t seem enough. For me, I needn’t have worried as my girls really love to drink milk which if you’ve been a reader for a long time you will know this is something we are trying to combat. The amount of milk they drink actually means they probably aren’t hungry which again is a huge concern now that I have really witnessed what a portion size should look like.
I have started to use a really handy Tot It Up which allows you to input everything your child eats so that you can see if they are having too much or too little. I personally think it’s great but they need to bring out a free app to make it a little easier to do on the go. Check out the online food portions guide to see how much to offer. Go to www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/portionsizes and spread the word, share the video to encourage other mums to #rethinktoddlerportionsizes. Join the chat on Facebook and Twitter #rethinktoddlerportionsizes
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