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How much is enough? Understanding basic nutrition and portion Sizes for children.
Of course, good nutrition starts with the five basic food groups. But for a little one who’s growing fast it’s hard to know just how much he should be eating. Below are some basic guidelines:
Here’s what to serve:
Milk, Yogurt and Cheese 3-4 Daily Example:
˝ cup of milk; ˝ ounce of cheese; 1/3 cup of yogurt.
Fruits 2 Daily Example:
1 piece of fruit or melon wedge; 1 cup of canned fruit
Vegetables 3 Daily Example:
˝ cup chopped raw or cooked vegetables; 1 cup leafy vegetable
Breads, Cereals, Grains and Pasta 6 Daily Example:
1 slice bread; ˝ cup cooked r ice/pasta; ˝ cup cooked cereal.
Your child might eat big amounts from this group, but as long as he’s getting his minimum requirements from the first three groups, there’s no problem.
Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Peanut Butter and Cooked Dried Beans 2 Daily Example:
2-3 oz of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish; ˝ cup of cooked dry beans; 1 egg = 1 oz of meat; 2 TBLS peanut butter = 1 oz meat
If chewing and swallowing meats are a problem for your little toddler, casseroles, hearty soups, fish, eggs, peanut butter and legumes are often better choices .
Don’t worry about getting your little one to eat the exact number of servings from each group every single day. Instead, try to average them out so that he get enough per day over a one to two-week period. For example, if he’s into eating a lot of yogurt for a few days, he may get enough servings for the week.
Portions should always be served according to age, appetite and activity level. A good rule-of-thumb is one-fourth to one-third the adult portion, or one tablespoon for each birthday year.
Start small. With smaller sized portions, you won’t overwhelm your baby. And you can give him the option of asking for more.