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  #1  
Old 01-15-2016, 01:40 PM
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Default Meal Portions

I've been looking online at the recommended meal portions for a toddler. That's what I've been basing my portion sizes on, but I'm wondering if I'm serving enough food in general. I have a little one who is constantly asking for food and will literally eat 4-5 helpings if I let her. I've been telling her she's done after 2, but I feel terrible b/c I always have this thought in the back of my mind like what if she really is hungry. Parents say she does the same thing at home. They just redirect or they would be feeding her constantly. Example of a meal...she is 2: slice of whole grain toast with fruit spread, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup oatmeal and cup of milk. Lunch: 1/4 cup whole grain spaghetti, 1/4 cup veggies, slice garlic bread, applesauce. Does that sound about right or do you think I"m offering too little food. I always give her seconds, but then I tell her meal time is over and we'll eat again at the next meal. Sometimes she's ok with that and sometimes she cries. Breaks my heart.
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:49 PM
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These are the USDA recommended meal patterns. It lists serving sizes for each age group.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/defaul...hild_Meals.pdf
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:54 PM
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Thank you!
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Old 01-15-2016, 02:07 PM
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Don't forget protein!
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Old 01-15-2016, 02:50 PM
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Don't forget protein!
Yes protein is very important with a kiddo (or anyone like this) protein will stay will you longer, so you feel full longer. It doesn't have to be meat, it can be cheese, eggs, nuts.
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:24 PM
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I typically do include protein with every meal. My 4 yo has actually started pointing out which food item is protein and saying, "This will keep me steady all day!" to all of the other kids. haha I realize I didn't include it in the example, but like spaghetti might have meat in the sauce or if not I often add peanut butter to bread instead of garlic toast. I do consider oatmeal to have protein in it so I don't always serve extra with that, but breakfast often has yogurt, peanut butter, an egg, or a cheese stick with it. I truly think this child just enjoys eating, but I'd hate to be wrong and have her be hungry.
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Old 01-15-2016, 04:33 PM
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Every child is different so I would feed her until she is full personally if that is possible. Maybe more portions?

My two daughters are super tiny. One eats like a horse and the other is picky and eats barely enough to live!

Protein is in everything by the way, even veggies have protein
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Old 01-16-2016, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
These are the USDA recommended meal patterns. It lists serving sizes for each age group.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/defaul...hild_Meals.pdf
Good information. It just seems like such small amounts. A couple of my toddlers eat twice this amount.
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Old 01-16-2016, 05:15 PM
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Every child is different so I would feed her until she is full personally if that is possible. Maybe more portions?

My two daughters are super tiny. One eats like a horse and the other is picky and eats barely enough to live!

Protein is in everything by the way, even veggies have protein
I'm kind of worried that she doesn't recognize when she is full. She will literally eat 4 or 5 servings per meal and within 30 minutes tell me, "I'm hungry. I eat." This is why I struggle. I really don't think she is still hungry. I think she eats for something to do, but I always worry that if she is hungry I'm cutting her off too soon. Her parents tell me she would eat non stop if they didn't stop her as well. Unfortunately, she won't eat any veggies for me though. She eats everything else, 4 and 5 servings if I allow it, but she always always leaves the veggies and tells me "Don't like it." What's funny is her mom says she veggies more than anything else at home.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:20 AM
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I went by a regular serving to start.I used those little plates that were divided.I would give a second serving of the main course and then if she hasn't eaten any veggies I would say no. She's not that hungry.That being said I told parents ahead of time that I wouldn't make meals a fight.I served fruits and only a few veggies I knew they liked.Cheating I know. Typical lunch grilled cheese carrot sticks an apple with milk.I sometimes would serve half a banana instead of carrots.I do think sometimes its just something to do eat.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:19 AM
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Their little stomachs are the size of their fist. I think you are serving enough. I WOULD give her a full glass of water to drink before meals. I have a child similar and it has never improved, is only getting worse despite a diabetes diagnosis AND the child is significantly overweight now. (years of over eating)
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by mamamanda View Post
I'm kind of worried that she doesn't recognize when she is full. She will literally eat 4 or 5 servings per meal and within 30 minutes tell me, "I'm hungry. I eat." This is why I struggle. I really don't think she is still hungry. I think she eats for something to do, but I always worry that if she is hungry I'm cutting her off too soon. Her parents tell me she would eat non stop if they didn't stop her as well. Unfortunately, she won't eat any veggies for me though. She eats everything else, 4 and 5 servings if I allow it, but she always always leaves the veggies and tells me "Don't like it." What's funny is her mom says she veggies more than anything else at home.
I would offer unlimited veggies. First reason being they won't "fatten her up" so to speak. And if she is truly hungry she will eat them. Here that is what I do. I always have carrot and celery sticks and if they keep wanting more food at the table after reasonable servings and seconds if I have it they are offered those.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:29 AM
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I have one who is always hungry. I serve the recommended portions one time, and they have to eat everything to get seconds. Usually it stops "hunger" when they are told they have to finish their zucchini first.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Thriftylady View Post
I would offer unlimited veggies. First reason being they won't "fatten her up" so to speak. And if she is truly hungry she will eat them. Here that is what I do. I always have carrot and celery sticks and if they keep wanting more food at the table after reasonable servings and seconds if I have it they are offered those.
I offer unlimited veggies after seconds.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mamamanda View Post
I'm kind of worried that she doesn't recognize when she is full. She will literally eat 4 or 5 servings per meal and within 30 minutes tell me, "I'm hungry. I eat." This is why I struggle. I really don't think she is still hungry. I think she eats for something to do, but I always worry that if she is hungry I'm cutting her off too soon. Her parents tell me she would eat non stop if they didn't stop her as well. Unfortunately, she won't eat any veggies for me though. She eats everything else, 4 and 5 servings if I allow it, but she always always leaves the veggies and tells me "Don't like it." What's funny is her mom says she veggies more than anything else at home.
Well I agree with offering her as many veggies as she wants too! If she is not wanting to eat them for you than she is not really hungry.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Karen0801 View Post
Good information. It just seems like such small amounts. A couple of my toddlers eat twice this amount.
I agree that the portions seem small but I also think that we (as a culture) tend to over eat.

I think ideally the portions ARE a good size.

Unfortunately, McDonalds and every other kid friendly place to eat serves portions so big that we "think" we need to eat that much when in reality we really don't.

It's common for adults to have that "A-ha" moment too when they diet or switch over to a healthier diet....one of the first things people say is "my portion sizes were way off" so I think our culture's idea of a portion size and the real required portion sizes is severely gapped.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:44 AM
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Protein is in everything by the way, even veggies have protein
Correct! I hate the USDA guidlines! But since we have to follow them I was specific about protein.
I'd like to have a vegan daycare personally!!
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:45 AM
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I offer unlimited veggies after seconds.
Ditto! If they are hungry they will eat them. Lower calorie but tummy fillers!
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:47 AM
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I agree that the portions seem small but I also think that we (as a culture) tend to over eat.

I think ideally the portions ARE a good size.

Unfortunately, McDonalds and every other kid friendly place to eat serves portions so big that we "think" we need to eat that much when in reality we really don't.

It's common for adults to have that "A-ha" moment too when they diet or switch over to a healthier diet....one of the first things people say is "my portion sizes were way off" so I think our culture's idea of a portion size and the real required portion sizes is severely gapped.
So true. A happy meal is 500 calories. That's a meal for ME!
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:48 PM
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This is on me b/c I'm ultimately the one giving her the food, but I've been worried about this for a while and today I think I got my answer. I knew dcg had ate with dcd just before drop off, but since other kids were eating and she of course wanted food I went ahead and fed her again. Not a lot, but enough. A little while later she threw an all out tantrum over something completely unrelated, but she screamed and thrashed around until she threw up. I sent her home, but there's been no vomiting since and she seems fine so I'm thinking she overfilled her tummy and then shook it all up with the tantrum. So, I'm going to take the advice offered here and offer regular portion sizes and then more veggies if she's still "hungry." I do think she will be done rather than eat the veggies and will probably throw a fit about it, but at least the fit won't end in vomit. And if she truly is hungry, the veggies are always an option to her.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:25 PM
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Sounds like you are feeding her plenty (portion wise) especially if she is getting seconds. Is she confusing thirst with hunger? I'd make sure she is getting water during the day.

Also, like others have said, make sure she is getting enough protein. With the spaghetti I'd serve extra cheese over the sauce or cottage cheese or both. I don't use hamburger. If I do beef it's roast beef.
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I agree that the portions seem small but I also think that we (as a culture) tend to over eat.

I think ideally the portions ARE a good size.

Unfortunately, McDonalds and every other kid friendly place to eat serves portions so big that we "think" we need to eat that much when in reality we really don't.

It's common for adults to have that "A-ha" moment too when they diet or switch over to a healthier diet....one of the first things people say is "my portion sizes were way off" so I think our culture's idea of a portion size and the real required portion sizes is severely gapped.
I agree with this. When I was younger a chicken nugget value meal at McDonalad's was 6 pieces, now it is 10
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Old 01-19-2016, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I agree that the portions seem small but I also think that we (as a culture) tend to over eat.

I think ideally the portions ARE a good size.

Unfortunately, McDonalds and every other kid friendly place to eat serves portions so big that we "think" we need to eat that much when in reality we really don't.

It's common for adults to have that "A-ha" moment too when they diet or switch over to a healthier diet....one of the first things people say is "my portion sizes were way off" so I think our culture's idea of a portion size and the real required portion sizes is severely gapped.

I do agree. I printed it off and plan to use it.
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:38 PM
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I've been using these portion sizes the last couple days. I will allow seconds and then I say, "You've had enough for right now. We'll let our tummy rest and have some more at snack/lunch/next meal." Dcg still complains, but she is fighting me less on it. And the veggies are always an option which she declines so she must not be too hungry. And she is just as energetic in between meals as normal so I think we're doing just fine. Having the chart as a guide really helps. Thanks to all for the advice!
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:42 PM
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I use those portion sizes too, and give seconds of everything, except milk - I offer water instead. I also allow unlimited veggies, but most of the time the child who wants 3rds of spaghetti isn't hungry enough for 3rds of peas.
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