Because children have small stomachs, it is extra important to make sure their meal portion sizes contain balanced nutrition without the empty calories.
But, how do you know what meal portion sizes should be for your little one? Keep in mind, that healthy portion sizes can vary depending on the height, weight, and activity level of your child. Your child’s pediatrician or nutritionist can help you calculate, but today’s post contains some guidelines.
Experts estimate that your toddler ‘should’ eat about 1000 to 1200 calories per day, which should be spread out in three meals and two snacks (or a food offering every two to three hours) and contain a total of; three ounces of grains (at least half of which should be whole grains); two cups of dairy; two ounces of meat/protein; one cup of fruit; and, one cup of vegetables. ~Your Kid’s Table
Meal Portion Sizes For Preschoolers
Some general ideas via Hipp Organic:
- 1/2 a piece of larger fruits like an apple or banana.
- A small handful for smaller fruits such as berries. If you serve grapes to smaller children, be sure to slice in half long ways to avoid the choking hazard. (More: The Shocking Truth About First Finger Foods)
- 1 Tablespoon is usually a good rule.
- Fruit or vegetable juices can also be given. 60 milliliters diluted down with water.
- 120 ml of whole milk or formula 3 times a day.
- 60 grams of yogurt.
- 15 grams of cheese.
- 80 grams of cooked rice, potatoes, or pasta.
- Half a pita bread or 1 slice of toast.
These can be given at each of 3 meals.
- 40 grams of meat or fish.
- 40 grams of hummus or lentils.
- 1 hardboiled egg.
- 55 grams of beans.
2 portions a day of protein. Vegetarian children may need 3.
What is the correct portion size for my toddler?
Remember that children’s appetite tends to vary from day to day. It is normally nothing to be concerned about as long as your child is healthy and gaining the appropriate amount of weight. If concerned, always speak to your child’s primary medical care professional.