Healthy Food Portions and Choices for Your Kids


Cheese Puffs, Chocolate Cake, Soda Pop, and Milkshakes- Are These the Things Our Little Boys and Girls are Made Of? Do you remember the original Willy Wonka Movie? There is a scene where the winners of the Golden Tickets enter the fantastic world of Willy Wonka’s Factory to find every imaginable and unimaginable candy creation. Even the river is filled with melted chocolate. It is a place that every child’s candy is within reach.
But the kids that eat, and eat, and eat every sweet they pass end up with a problem and are eliminated from the contest. The only boy left is the one with self control who follows the directions. Now imagine being your child and going through every aisle in a grocery store and seeing all of the colorful and fun looking foods. Wow, I bet it is a bit like seeing all of those treats in Willy Wonka’s factory. A bit overwhelming for most kids at first glance. Who blames them- the colorful, fun shaped, sugary foods are very enticing. Your child begs for the sugary cereal pops and frosted pop tarts and Sunny D Drink. What is a parent to do?

Well here are 10 tips to help you make healthy food choices for your kids and serve them age-appropriate food portions.

• Serve Fresh Fruits and Vegetables at Every Meal (or frozen) • Serve Water Regularly and Limit the Amount of Milk and Juice a child drinks each day

• Serve Wheat or White Wheat Bread and Brown Rice or Whole Wheat Pasta instead of White Bread or Rice.

• Buy Healthier Versions of the Foods Your Child Enjoys or save for a occasion treat. For example they sell Strawberry Yogurt with Dora and Diego on it with less sugar and no artificial food coloring or they sell organic yogurt- you can switch this out with the yogurt with more sugar and food coloring.

• Serve Healthy and Low-fat Dips with Fruits, Vegetables and Healthy Snacks to Encourage Kids to Eat More Healthy Foods.

• Talk to Your Kids about the Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods- it gives their body and mind energy and helps them grow. • Model Positive Eating Habits for Your Kids- Show them how much you like a certain fruit or veggie or healthy meal. We eat carrots and apples with peanut butter and when I am eating this snack I say, “Mmmm. My carrots and apples will help me make my muscles stronger” And I show them my arm muscle. It gets them excited to show me their muscles and they usually eat the veggie. Tell them what animal eats that food (ex. Monkeys eat Bananas I ask, “Can we all pretend we are a monkey and eat a banana?”- kids love to pretend to be animals so this is a fun way to introduce food and encourage them to eat it)

Quick Guide to Portions: Your 2 or 4 year old does not need an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich, especially if it is being served with a fruit, vegetable and drink.
Plate for a 2 to 3 Year Old.
There is a good rule of thumb to go by below, but basically a 2 year old would get a ¼ of sandwich, a 4 year old a ½ a sandwich and an older child would get a whole sandwich.

• The rule of thumb is to serve your child a Tablespoon per child's age of each food/food group. So a 3 year old would get approximately 3 Tbs of a vegetable, a fruit, a protein, and a whole grain food.

• Remember to account for the calories that dips, condiments, peanut butter, and drinks (juice, milk, etc) add to your child’s meal.

• Ideally each meal should provide 25-30% of your child's daily calories for 3 main meals and the other 10-25% for 2 healthy snacks and drinks (lowfat milk or 100% fruit juice w/ no sugar or sugar substitute added).
Plate for a 3 or 4 Year Old

• How Many Calories Should My Child Be Eating a Day?

o 2-3 - 1000-1400 calories/day 4-8 - 1400-1600 calories/ day

o Girls 9-13 - 1600-2000 calories/ day Boys 9-13- 1800-2200 calories/day

o Girls 14-18 - 2000 calories/day Boys 14-18 - 2200 calories +/day

For more information about buying healthier foods for your family click this link:
Plate for a 6 Year Old or Older



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