How Much Do You feed Your Toddler? #rethinktoddlerportionsizes

When the children were babies, and started weaning, we did Baby Led Weaning and pretty much followed the mantra ‘food is fun until they’re one’ but as soon as they turned a year old everything changed. Like many parents I worried that they weren’t eating enough, or eating the right food groups. There were days when they would only eat fruit and others where they would only eat carbs – pasta, bread or mashed potatoes!

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But really, looking back, I’m not sure I really knew how much they should be eating and so it’s a relief that Infant & Toddler Forum have produced a Portion Sizes Guide that shows exactly how much a toddler should be eating.

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We’ve been using the portion size guide over the last week and it’s amazing the amount the children do eat compared to the recommended portion size for 1-4 year olds. For example, Little Man, at three, would happily eat one large jacket potato – complete with a filling, however the recommended portion size is just 1/2 – 1 ½ egg-sized potatoes. With that in mind LP and Little Man should probably be sharing a jacket potato as part of a meal rather than having one each.

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Also, 1/4 – 1/2 of a medium apple is a typical portion size but LP and Little Man would both happily eat a large apple every day. The children would also happily eat two sausages with their dinner but should probably be having just one.

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I know I’m not along in this. Infant & Toddler Forum’s survey of 1000 UK parents showed that 79% routinely gave their children portion sizes over the recommended guidelines – and I would definitely be part of that percentage. It also showed that 10% of parents gave their children close to adult portion sizes but 73% of parents worry that their children don’t eat enough. I know this is a big concern for many parents and one I have often worried about in the past.

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The portion size guide and associated research has been eye opening for us. This isn’t just about whether the children eat enough – or too much, but also about them eating the right balance of foods. It’s definitely made me look at healthier choices for them and made me cut back the amount of processed meat and carbohydrates they have been having. Both of our children are nicely in proportion – with LP being actually very petite – but I feel like it’s good to get the food balance right now rather than worry about the amount the children are eating as they get older.

I loved watching this video from Infant & Toddler Forum which really shows, as a parent, we are expected to know everything. In this case it was good to learn something that I could put into practice straight away. Watch it yourself and see what you think:

You can find out more about Infant & Toddler Forum’s #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign over on their website but make sure you join in the conversation over on Facebook and Twitter too. What do you think, do you always give your children the recommended portion sizes?

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have
volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity and have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post.

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7 Comments

  1. July 8, 2016 / 11:01 pm

    Whilst working in a nursery I did a training course on this exact subject and it’s crazy how little the portion sizes actually are . Especially with things like yoghurts. Also made me think about giving children raisins as they are full of sugar ! X

  2. July 8, 2016 / 11:12 pm

    This campaign bothers me a bit. My children do eat more than the recommended amount, but they are also a lot more active than average toddlers. I understand that they want to prevent children from becoming obese, but eating disorders are also a consideration these days. There really should be guidelines around the amount of exercise children do if they have portions of this size.
    Nat.x

  3. July 9, 2016 / 7:25 am

    I’ve seen this campaign but not too sure how I feel about it. Don’t really think there can be a ‘one size fits all’ approach as so many other factors come in to it – diet, lifestyle etc
    My little girl has always had a huge appetite and eats way more than the recommended amount. However she is tiny (21lb at 2 years) and is actually starting to lose weight. I do sometimes worry about how much she eats but I worry more about her dropping off the chart again so doubt we will be reducing our portions

  4. July 9, 2016 / 7:52 am

    It is surprising how little they should really have, both my girls are slim and eat healthily. My 15 month son eats more than my 4 year old and way more than is recommended for him however he is super tall and always on the go, he isn’t slim like the girls but he isn’t chunky either. It can be very confusing.

  5. July 9, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    Both my kids probably have a bigger portion than they should for evening meals but generally I would say they eat fairly good portions. Unless my little man is on a ‘I’m hungry day’ then all the cupboards get raided.

  6. July 11, 2016 / 11:29 am

    Really interesting post, and some of the comments… It looks like I’ve been feeding toddler W too much at times… But then there are days he’s off his food and doesn’t eat much…. And there are days where he DOES NOT STOP running around so I think he burns it all off! If he just ate and watched tv I’d be worried! Xx

  7. July 12, 2016 / 11:12 pm

    My boys eat way more than the recommended portion sizes, even N who eats like a sparrow compared to J! I’m not worried though as they’re bang on for their size and weight x

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