Every parent wants their kids to grow up healthy, but this is easier said than done especially when toddlers go through the picky eater phase. As our children become more assertive, they’ll start asking for different food or refuse to eat what’s on the table if they don't like the meals being served.
If you’re worried that your child is not eating enough, a mom, who is also a nutritionist, came up with an easy hack that you can follow!
As a mom of two, registered dietitian Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RDN, knows just how stressful mealtimes can be. So she came up with her version of “toddler portion sizes” and shared it on her on her Instagram account, @kids.eat.in.color.
“It’s easy to get caught up in ‘official’ portion sizes. For vegetables, the ‘official’ size is 1 Tbs per year of age for kids 1-3,” Jennifer explains in her caption.
“But since when has any toddler anywhere followed the ‘official’ recommendations? Certainly not mine,” she adds.
Moms and dads will surely face the same scenario with their own toddlers, which is why she came up with six portion sizes that range from “disgusted” to “curious” to “growing.” Take a look below:
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If they dislike or refuse to eat a certain vegetable or fruit, you can still put a “disgusted” serving on their plate, equivalent to ½ tsp, shares the mom. There’s also a serving size for sensory play, for those food that they want to explore but won’t eat.
If they’re curious about the taste, the curious serving is equivalent to 2 and ½ Tbs. If it makes them constipated, a serving of ½ Tbs is enough.
“For that food they pound (strawberries, anyone?), load them up,” she says.
Jennifer reminds parents, “It’s okay for kids to eat as much as they want at every meal and snack. It’s okay if they eat almost nothing. It’s okay if they eat as much as you.”
“FYI, the official recommendation is 2-3 servings of fruits and 2-3 servings per day,” Jennifer says. She is likely talking about the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
Carbohydrates - 1/2 cup of rice or 2 pieces pandesal
Protein - 1/2 serving (or about 15 grams) of lean meat
Vegetables - 1/2 cup
Fruits - 1/2 or 1 piece of a medium-sized fruit
But Jennifer’s toddler portion sizes is still helpful especially to parents who fret about their little ones not getting enough healthy meals. “As we know, they may not eat veggies for 2 days and then eat as much as you on day 3. It’s okay. And it’s okay to [substitute] fruit for veg if they are going through a rough patch,” the mom shares.
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For more tips to get a picky eater to eat, click here.