Is it teething time for your little one?
It can be very difficult for parents to know what portions to feed their family. On the one hand you don’t want your family leaving the dinner table hungry but of course with obesity on the increase in Ireland you want to be careful that you aren’t serving them too much.
 
Remember, children are small and don’t need adult-size portions. While most parents commonly encourage children to finish what’s on their plate, this is not necessary. Let your child decide when they have had enough and don’t force them to eat more than they want. This will only lead to bad habits later in life where they will continue to eat even if they are full.
 
The good news is that small, simple changes can make a great difference to your family’s diet. Here are a few tips on how you can limit your portion size.
  • Use a smaller plate. This is a very simple way to cut down your portion. You will find that if you use a smaller plate you will put less food on it and will probably feel full once you finished your plate.
  • Eat slowly. If you spend a little more time chewing your food and eat a little slower you will find you fill up faster. Your body needs time to receive the signal that you are full so if you eat slower you won’t eat as much. Teach your children to take their time eating.
  • Fill a third of the dinner plate with vegetables and salad. You may be tempted to fill the plate with pasta, rice or potatoes but they should only make up one third of the plate. One serving of pasta should only equal to 2 tablespoons.
  • Eat a little raw fruit before dinner. In the lead up to dinner give your child grapes or some other fruit. This is a great way of ensuring they get some of their 5-a-day and it also means they won’t need to eat as much at dinner.
  • Never eat until you are full. It takes 20 minutes for your body to register you are full. If you eat until you feel full it means you’ve eaten too much.
  • Buy food that is packaged in individual portions. This is a great way of controlling your portions rather than eating from bigger packs.
  • Go for ‘small’. When getting food in the cinema or in a fast food restaurant, get the small. These are normally still generous and you will probably have had enough by the time you finish.

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