Read my latest newsletter →

How Much Should My Child Eat?

Nutrition

How Much Should My Child Eat?

As parents we all go through periods where we worry about how much our kids are eating.  This is especially true when dealing with a child who is underweight or seems to have a small appetite.  It is also true when dealing with a child who is overweight and sneaking food.  Yet even when we are dealing with a child who has a perfectly healthy weight, parents will often still wonder if their child is eating enough or too much and how this will affect their future growth and eating habits.

While it is not our job as parents to determine how much our kids eat, there are ways in which we can support them in their eating.

Planned meals and snacks

Planning scheduled meals and healthy snacks is one of our feeding responsibilities.  Your child should be allowed to eat as much as they want at each sit down meal or snack and will be better able to regulate their amounts compared to being allowed to graze throughout the day.  Snacks do not need to be what we tend to think of as “snack foods.”  Think of them more like small meals and ensure the same balance that you would at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We should be offering our kids 4-5 opportunities to eat throughout the day so that would mean 1-2 snacks.

Proper spacing between meals

Use snacks to support mealtime and space them out appropriately to ensure your child comes to the table hungry, but not too hungry.  If you wait too long, your child may become cranky and more likely to have a meltdown at the table. Some children may overeat in this situation.   If your meals and snacks are too close together, your child will be more likely to reject what is offered at the table or eat only a small amount.  This often results in parental pressure to eat in the form of negotiations and bribery.  Your child may legitimately not be hungry and teaching them to ignore their internal huger cues can lead to trouble down the road.

Even though at times they may eat more or less than they need, they will usually make up for this by making the necessary adjustments at other meals

Stop interfering

Avoid trying to control the quantity of food your child consumes. It typically involves the use of pressure tactics in one form or another. Your child is the only one who know how much their body needs.  Even though at times they may eat more or less than they need, they will usually make up for this by making the necessary adjustments at other meals. Young children are very good at self-regulating if we let them.

As parents, our role is not to determine the appropriate quantity for our children to eat.  Our role is to provide healthy and balanced meals and snacks in a positive mealtime environment. We provide them with structure but then we need to take a step back and let them do their job.

Dina-TakeAways-1(386)

1. Plan meals and snacks in advance

2. Leave some time in between eating sessions

3. Stop interfering with your child’s eating

Have a picky eater? How to prevent picky eating.

Aviva Allen
Written By: Aviva Allen

Aviva is one of Toronto’s leading nutritionists with a specialty in Kids’ Nutrition. For more info visit Aviva Allen’s Website

You might also enjoy

Is sugar bad for kids?

Is sugar bad for kids?

Sugar is taking a devastating toll on our children’s health. Sugar hijacks the brain. When sugar hits the brain theirs a reward center, it acts in the same way a drug does: it releases a surge of dopamine that makes us feel good initially, but that lift doesn’t last. Over time, we need more and more sugar to get that same boost. This starts the cycle of cravings, and in vulnerable children, addictions are often formed.

What to Eat for Constipation

What to Eat for Constipation

You may have heard conflicting stories about what to eat, making you remain undecided. Well, this article is here to give you guidelines on how you can remedy the situation. We will focus on the foods to eat for constipation.

How To Boost your Immune System in 6 Easy Steps

How To Boost your Immune System in 6 Easy Steps

How to boost your immune system and your kids’ immune system NATURALLY. BONUS: This has a spillover effect on every area of health, including your mood! And this can make a difference for everyone in your family.

Dr. Dina Kulik - Subscribe to my Blog
Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Success! Check Your Inbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

COVID Toolbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

.

Success! Thanks for Subscribing!

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

.

Success! Thanks for Subscribing!

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health - Constipation Management

Success! Check Your Inbox