Are you wondering what the right serving size is for toddlers and kids? Check out our guide below!
Kid’s Serving Size and Portions | A Feeding Guide
Step 1: Understand Serving Size and Portion Size
Serving size versus portion size can be tricky. Serving size refers to a specific amount of drink or food. It’s measured through tablespoons, cups, or ounces. You can also find this information in the Nutrition Facts label found on most food products.
Portion size refers to the actual amount of food that ends up on your plate. It’s the actual amount of food you and your kids eat every meal time.
The portion may be bigger or smaller than the recommended serving size. You have to be careful about going way above the suggested serving size, as it can lead to weight gain.
Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with Recommended Serving Sizes for Your Child’s Age
Children have a tendency to overeat and go beyond the recommended serving size. Sometimes, parents give their children too little, thinking their child won’t finish it. You might be under or overestimating the right food serving size for your child.
To be more accurate about this, check out the recommended serving sizes per age group below:
Toddlers – One to Three Years Old
A good estimate to determine the portion size for toddlers is about a quarter of that for an adult.
- Dry Cereal – a quarter of a cup
- Fresh Fruit – half of a piece
- Bread – quarter to half a slice
- Egg – half
- Yogurt – a third of a cup
- Peanut Butter – a tablespoon – provided the child has no allergic reaction to any of its ingredients
- Cooked Vegetables – one to two tablespoons
- Meat – an ounce
Preschoolers and Up – Three to Eight Years Old
Kids’ appetite will increase as they get older. For ages three to eight years old, a good estimate for portion size is a third of the portion size guide for adults.
- Dry Cereal – half a cup
- Fresh Fruit – half a piece
- Bread – half a slice
- Egg – one whole
- Yogurt – half a cup
- Low Fat Milk – half a cup
- Cooked Vegetables – half a cup
- Meat – an ounce
Step 3: Check on the Indicated Serving Size of Pre-Packaged Food
It can be confusing to determine the right portion to feed your child when it comes to pre-packaged food. A single package doesn’t automatically mean it’s for a single serving.
Pre-packaged food comes with a serving size guide in the label or indicated in the nutrition facts table. It’s better to buy a single serving packaging or snacks that come in a bite-size option to avoid overeating.
Step 4: Control Portion Sizes for Food Items That Are Packaged in Bulk or Multiple Servings
Serve your child’s food on a plate, especially when it’s packaged food intended for multiple servings. If the package says it’s good for three servings, then divide the portion by three and then get the quarter or the half of it and give it to your little one.
Don’t let them eat cookies directly from the box. If they want some to take to school, then put just the right portion in a ziplock bag or container.
When eating meals at home, be the one to put the food on your child’s plate so you’re in control of the amount of food he/she eats. If he/she still feels hungry afterward, you can offer some vegetables or a salad.
Here’s a guide on fruit and vegetable serving sizes for kids from Babyology:
It’s good to teach your kids healthy eating habits while they are young, so they can develop the habit of eating right and hopefully avoid weight problems in the future. It’s not just about eating the right food, but also eating sufficiently and not excessively.
When they learn this early on, eating healthy won’t be much of a problem when they grow up, even without you reminding them constantly. While you’re at it, train your child to be able to eat by himself/herself on his/her own chair, too.
How do you control your child’s eating habits? Let us know in the comments section!