Here are some tips to instil healthier eating habits among children.
What is a reasonable amount of food?
- One easy way to size up portions for your children is to use their hands as a guide, so it serves as a reminder that they should eat smaller portions.
- A clenched fist is about a cup, which is the recommended amount for a portion of pasta, rice, cereal, vegetables and fruit.
- A meat portion should be about as big as a palm.
- Encourage them to split their dessert with their sibling or friend.
- Encourage the habit of eating at the table, as they can overeat when their attention is focused on something else.
- Serve food on smaller plates so meals look larger. A sandwich on a dinner plate looks lost but on an appetiser plate it looks plenty.
- Aim for three scheduled healthy meals and one or two healthy snacks throughout the day. Skipping a meal often leads to overeating at the next one.
- Add more salads and fruit to your family’s diet, especially at the start of a meal, which can help control hunger and give a sense of fullness while controlling calorie intake.
- Try not to rush through meals. Go slowly and give everyone a chance to feel full before serving more. Teach them that it takes 15 minutes for a satiety signal to reach their brain to know they are full.
Remember the role parents play in showing children how to size up portions. As children grow, their appetites will vary depending on a number of things. They tend to be hungrier during growth spurts or sports seasons when they are more active and less hungry during downtimes. As their appetites change, keep serving right-sized portions and encourage them to slow down to enjoy their food. Then check in on whether they are full before they go for seconds.
With thanks to United for Healthier Kids (U4HK), a movement to ensure everyone plays their part in ensuring the children of the region remain healthy. Visit www.U4HK-me.com.
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