Remember kids tummies are smaller than grown ups so they don’t need the same amount of food
Why me size meals?
Toddlers and kids have smaller stomachs so it is important they eat smaller amounts of food regularly. Offering large platefuls of food can be overwhelming and stop kids enjoying mealtimes, plus if they eat more than their small bodies need it converts to stored fat in their bodies which can lead to illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer later in life.
What about portion sizes?
These days portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger, even plates are getting bigger! Start by serving up a smaller portion on a child-size plate or bowl and if they really do want more it’s OK to give them some seconds. Making a conscious effort to serve them ‘child-size’ meals rather than giving them the same size portion you’d give an adult and expecting them to eat it all is a good place to start. It will also mean there is less food waste and they won’t be eating too much.
How do you know when a child is full?
Babies, toddlers and kids are much better than adults at regulating their own appetite. They know when they are hungry and when they are full whereas adults have learnt over time to override these hunger and fullness signals. Some signs that babies and toddlers have eaten enough are:
- Saying no
- Keeping their mouth shut when food is offered
- Pushing away the bowl, plate or spoon containing food
- Turning their head away from food being offered
- Spitting out food repeatedly
- Crying, shouting or screaming
- Gagging or retching
It’s ok if plates or bowls don’t come back clean, if they’re full that’s ok.