Setting the Table for Healthy Appetites

Families, Food and Fitness September 25, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Healthy Portions for Preschoolers logo

Feeding children is sometimes hectic and it is not realistic to think that caregivers will have a measuring cup in hand when mealtimes begin.  So what are easy ways to help get portion sizes right?  The research tells us that the amount adults and kids serve can be influenced by visual cues at the table, including the size of dishware and the amount of food in serving dishes.  Studies show that people serve and eat more when using larger plates and bowls. 


Click the video link below to learn more about how we can be influenced by size when feeding children.

YouTube logoIn the Kitchen Video- Healthy Portions

Summing it up:  Small tummies need small food portions.  Remember these easy ways to help children have healthy portion sizes (without having to measure each spoonful!):

  • Use smaller bowls, plates, cups and utensils when serving and eating.
  • Encourage small first portions.  This keeps appetites in check and prevents plate waste.
  • Encourage children to serve themselves.
  • Allow second servings if children are still hungry.
  • Don’t insist that children finish all of the food on their plates.

Healthy Portions for Preschoolers logo More information on Healthy Portions for Preschoolers: 

MyPlate for Preschoolers

Teaching Children to Listen to Their Bodies

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.