Child-size portions: some of your questions answered

Do you remember as a child how we were always told to finish our meal? Even nowadays this is something lots of parents do. What’s more, children's portion sizes have gotten bigger over the last 20-30 years.

With one in four children now either overweight or obese, childhood is a great time to build healthy habits around food, including portion size. “They’re kids, give them child-sized portions, not adult ones” is a simple piece of advice to keep in mind when getting their food ready. It is important to recognise whether you are giving them too much and if you are, there are plenty of ways to address this. We replied to some of the queries you had and I thought I would share a few of those with you.

How do I know if I’m serving my child large portions?

Your 5 year old needs about half the amount of food an adult needs. Just remember, the amount of food an adult eats is often more than what an adult actually needs. So checking out our portion size guides for adults will also help.

How should I get started with giving my child smaller portions?

A good way to start introducing smaller portions to your child is to address the portion sizes of all members in the household. Adults can be guilty of eating more than we need too so it’s best to lead by example.

How can I use to ensure my child is getting the right amount of food?

Giving them smaller portions of food on their plates to start with is the best way to go, if they want more afterwards, then give it to them but always in small amounts.

  • Forget the whole “you need to finish your food” approach, let them stop when they say ‘I’ve had enough’ as childrens’ appetites can vary from day to day.
  • A brilliant tip is to use smaller plates and cutlery that match their size.

And if they say they're hungry after having their meal?

Think about healthy foods that you could offer them. They need at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, so using these as a snack when they are hungry or want more food is a great idea. An apple, banana, pear, orange or other similar-size fruit, a handful of grapes or some carrot sticks will do the trick! If you have smaller children try to cut the fruits in a “special” way just for them or place the vegetables in a certain shape or format on their plate.

Posted: 25/08/2016 16:35:07 by Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva
Filed under: Campaigns, Childhood obesity, Portion sizes


About Me

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Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva
I am a Portuguese dietitian and moved to Ireland in 2007. After more than eight years in Dublin we moved to Cork with our 3 teenage children. We all love nice food, cooking and trying new recipes and new restaurants as a family. I love reading and I am a movie addict.