When we eat more than we burn, we put on weight. One way to ensure we eat a healthy amount — not too much, not too little — is to watch our portions. Portion control for children is exactly the same. Here are 5 ways to build good eating habits for toddlers aged 4.
When we talk about portion control, we mostly focus on the amount of food we put on our plates. As mommies and daddies, we sometimes cannot help ourselves. We tend to put more of their favourite foods on their plates.
Portion control is not just about what we put on their kids. It’s also about the size of the plate, the relative portions of what we are putting on these plates and the refills.
It’s also about cultivating healthy eating habits like keeping regular meal and snack times. Here are 5 ways parents can help their kids mind their portions.
My Healthy Plate is for both adults and toddlers. Fill plates with 1/4 plate brown rice, 1/4 plate meat/others, and 1/2 plate fruit and veggies. Use a child-sized plate (8 inch in diameter) so the serving sizes and amount of food are proportionately smaller.
An additional benefit of using My Healthy Plate is that it ensures your child gets nutrients from all the various food groups.
It takes at least 20 minutes for our stomachs to let the mind know it’s full. Pace out meals. When your child eats, teach him to chew, savour the flavours, and enjoy his meal instead of rushing through.
This healthy eating habit prevents overeating which can lead to childhood obesity. Obese children tend to grow up to be obese adults. And obesity increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.
When your child is growing, he may sometimes feel hungry even after a meal. Here’s a neat hack: Instead of getting into a power struggle with your child over seconds, offer your child another helping of vegetables first. Hold back giving him another round of brown rice or lean meat.
Let 20 minutes pass so that he can feel full before giving in to more pleas for refills.
Serve three meals a day and limit snacks to twice a day. On top of that, try and keep meal and snack times regular so that he feels hungry only at certain times of the day.
For meals, cook or serve healthy meals so that he will feel more satisfied and crave for fewer snacks. If he is a picky eater and eats only what he likes, encourage him to be more adventurous with these tips for fussy eaters.
For snacks, choose healthy snacks like fresh fruit. Before giving your child a packaged snack, check out the nutrition facts panel on the food label. Make sure the snack is packed with nutrients and what’s inside matches up with the recommended dietary allowances.
When giving your child snacks like nuts or raisins, control the portion by pouring the snack into a small bowl or plate.
When you give him the entire bag, he will likely finish everything inside happily and without restraints.
Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.
Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
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This article was last reviewed on
15 Sep 2023
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