Research shows that our perception of portion sizes has become so fuzzy that it's hard for parents to recognize what a normal portion looks like for kids. But it’s important to know that a healthy toddler should be offered the same variety of nutritious foods as adults, but in much smaller portions. Here are a few tips to help you learn and provide accurate portion sizes for infants and toddlers.
Education: If you want to avoid picky eating, it’s important for parents to know the correct portion sizes for fruits, vegetables, protein and grains for their child’s age group. Knowing the amount of tablespoons/ounces your child needs will decrease the likelihood of incorrect feeding habits like force feeding, bribing, tricking or tempting children with desserts, which can all cause picky eating.
- Infant: A nine-month old baby is still drinking breast milk or formula as their primary nutrition, but you can slowly incorporate approximately 1-3 tablespoons of food for 1-2 meals a day. Knowing that your baby can explore solid food and only requires a tiny amount per day can relive a parent’s anxiety.
- Toddler: A toddler only needs 2 ounces of protein a day. One ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered a 1 ounce-equivalent of protein.
- Approximations: Remember that some days your baby or toddler will eat more and other days a little less. Keep portion size approximations in mind, which will help keep your stress low and make mealtime fun for everyone!
- Website: Go to choosemyplate.gov to find your child’s age group and learn their daily portion recommendations for each food group.
- Book: For more information on portion sizes for toddlers check out the book Making Mealtime ezpz.
Products: Choosing feeding products that help you recognize portion sizes easily will help you make healthy (and appropriately portioned) meals for your children. ezpz’s feeding products are purposefully designed to help guide parents with serving sizes and make mealtime less stressful.
- The Happy Mat is catered to toddlers and older children. The portion sizes in the three compartments are 4oz (in each of the eyes) and 10oz (in the smile). Having three compartments with two different portion sizes makes it easy for parents to serve fruit or veggies, protein and carbs.
- The Mini Mat is designed for infants, toddlers and travel. The portion sizes are smaller than the Happy Mat at 2oz (in each of the eyes) and 4oz (in the smile).
- The Happy Bowl is catered to toddlers and older children with an 8oz bowl. It is the perfect breakfast mat for both cold and hot cereals; the bowl can safely go into the microwave for cooking and reheating!
- The Play Mat is made for all ages and all types of fun including food, sensory, play and crafting! The middle compartment measures at 3oz and the petals are 2oz (for a total of 10oz).
I hope these recommendations and products help you and your family to become healthy and happy eaters! What are some of your tips for serving correct portion sizes for meals and snacks? Check out our Pinterest page if you need some additional meal and snack ideas!
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