It’s tough to gauge how much food your kids really need. Many parents are worried that they’re not giving enough, so they’ll overcompensate by serving up too much. Here are 5 signs that you’re overfeeding your child, and easy solutions to cut back portion sizes.
1: The Plate
If your child has close to or the same amount of food that’s on your plate, you’re probably overfeeding them. Using smaller plates and serving spoons can help make sure they’re being served less.
Overeating is something that is learned over time. If your child is pushing food around or isn’t cleaning their plate, you may be giving them too much. It’s better to start with less food and serve up seconds when requested. Don’t fight over it — never force feed or punish the child for not eating everything.
Fruit juice can be part of a healthy diet, but only in small amounts. Oftentimes children are served juice between meals or at the beginning of the meal, which can add unnecessary calories. Stick to four fluid ounces per day of 100-percent fruit juice (remember to read the label).
4: Emotional Feeding
Many parents fork over food when the child is sad, upset, cranky or tired. Before turning to food, try and figure out if the child just needs a hug, a nap or some alone time with mom or dad. Kids may also confuse their sense of thirst for hunger — offer a glass of water first.
My kids grow like weeds — I need to buy them new clothing twice a year. But kids should be growing taller, not wider. If clothing is too snug in the chest, waist or tush (and the length is fine), this may be a result of eating too many calories. If you’re worried, make an appointment with your physician so they can check if the weight gain is on (or off) track based on your child’s growth charts.
Read More On Nutrition For Kids:
- Feeding Your Fussy Toddler
- Healthy Foods Food For Toddlers
- Make Your Own Baby Food
- Smarter Snacks: Picks for During and After School
- Packing A Tasty Lunch for Kids
TELL US: How do you keep your kids’ portions in check?
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »