Q1: My one year old boy loves to eat rice, especially if served with egg (either soft or hard boiled egg, scrambled egg or sunny side up). However, how much rice is okay for him to eat? How do I know if he’s over eating?
What Asian diet would not be complete without rice? As a pediatrician, I would have to advocate a diet that is well balanced with grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy. It looks like you are already trying to incorporate the other food groups by adding egg to the rice. You could also try to add vegetables or change the protein to chicken or ground beef and make him some fried rice. Mixing the rice with some monggo may also help add a healthy protein.
In terms of portion, if you are worried that he is eating too much, the rule of thumb for a one year old is to offer one to two tablespoons of each food group and see if your boy is still hungry after that. Offer more food in 1 tablespoon increments. The amount toddlers eat will vary based on how much energy they expend. There will be days when he will eat one fourth to a half a cup of rice in one sitting and other days when he will barely eat a spoonful. Oftentimes, when we spoon feed toddlers, they tend to eat more. Allow him to feed himself and to refuse food. If weight gain is truly an issue, talk to your pediatrician about it.
It also helps to offer a variety of food. Don't be disheartened if he refuses the food at first. It often takes 10 to 15 tries before a child decides if he likes the new food or not. You can try to put a tablespoon of rice and a tablespoon of vegetables on his plate and tell him he needs to at least try the vegetables before you put more rice on his plate.
Good luck and happy eating!
About the Author: Rosanne Sugay, M.D., is an Internist and Pediatrician at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. She is constantly reminded by her two year old that children don't read the same pediatric textbooks as she does and will therefore always do the unexpected.