During my pregnancies with Isaac, Eliza and Sebastian I suffered with Gestational Diabetes and my sessions with the dietician was a real eye opener, especially when it came to mealtime portion sizes.
It made me realise that the portion sizes we had been having were on the large side and not only did the family start changing its eating habits, but we all started eating healthier.
Sebastian is now 3 and is a real grazer when it comes to eating. He much prefers snacking throughout the day rather than having three individual meals so it is hard to judge his portion sizes or how much food to offer. That’s where the Infant & Toddler Forum can help.
A survey of 1000 UK mums and dads revealed that 79% of parents routinely offer portions bigger than the recommended size range for toddlers when offering popular meals, drinks and treats. It’s clear that guidance and practical advice for parents is lacking.
With evidence linking large portion sizes to excess weight gain, the Infant & Toddler Forum has launched the #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign to help take the guesswork out of how much is enough.
The Infant & Toddler Forum is an independent expert group promoting best practice through evidence based advice and practical resources. This year – against a backdrop of early interventions to reduce obesity in preschool children they are launching a campaign that re-frames the childhood obesity challenge for parents, focusing on ‘how much’ as well as ‘what’ toddlers eat. The new campaign sheds light on how much is too much. They believe it’s time to rethink our notion of how much food toddlers need. The campaign provides practical ways to help parents understand how much is too much.
The amount of food that young children eat varies from day-to-day, meal to meal. Using the portion size guide on how much to offer Eliza and Sebastian was a real eye-opener for me and made me realise that I had been giving them too much – no wonder they often don’t finish their dinner. Sebastian is a bit of a banana fiend and should only really be having half per day – he normally gets through two or three!
The portion size guide allows children to eat to their appetite although taller or more active children will eat larger portions than shorter or less active children. It also advises what the right balance of food groups should be.
Isaac especially is a bit of a fussy eater and I have already made a change to our mealtimes by cooking from scratch rather than raiding the freezer for the quick option. My Tefal Cook4Me has been working on overdrive creating delicious, healthy meals for all the family and I am going to pay far more attention to portion sizes from now on, especially for the younger children, to ensure they grow up to be happy and healthy.
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