“Mom, can I have a triple-scoop ice cream cone, pretty please?” If you answered yes to this question, you might be teaching your child portion distortion. A study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, adds support to the recommendation of offering kids smaller-sized servings. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University served five-year-old kids small, medium, and large portions of macaroni and cheese. The more macaroni and cheese the five-year-olds were offered, the more they ate.
Here are a few tips on how you can help your child downsize their portions and get a better value on her health:
Kids Love Magic, so be an Illusionist!
Marketers have created jumbo-sized cups and plates to match the portions we are accustomed to seeing in restaurants. Dinner plates have increased in size from a standard 10-inch to 12-inch and larger, so today normal portions look miniscule on a larger plate. The solution is to put meals on smaller plates so that the portion appears larger.
Divide and Conquer Portion Distortion
Divide snacks into small portions, instead of sending your child off to snack with the whole bag. Remember those five-year-olds who ate more macaroni and cheese based on being offered larger portions, well the same rule applies here.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Serve food away from the table, which may limit family members from going back for seconds. Plate the food and leave the serving bowls off the table because, typically, when food is within reach, we eat more and it has nothing to do with hunger but because it tastes good or because it is in front of us.
Add Healthy ‘Extras’ to Your Meals
When you boost the proportion of fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your dishes, you naturally cut calories while adding nutrition and flavor. Fruit and vegetables have a high fiber and water content and therefore you can eat a larger, more filling portion without lots of calories.