5 Tips for kids portions

Start small

I’ve learnt to always start with small portions. There's no point piling on intimidating amounts of food that kids can't finish and doing this risks putting them off altogether. If they do finish and they’re still hungry, give them extra portions in tiny increments so that the original triumph of finishing is not diluted by having some of the second portion left over.  

Make a little protein go a long way 

When the kids were tiny, we didn’t cook any extra of the meat or fish from our own main meal. We just cut off a little for them and bulked it out with cooked grains or a puree. 

Eat slowly

This is an incredibly important habit. Encourage them to eat slowly, chew and swallow, then start the next mouthful. It makes them more likely to learn how much food they need to eat and to eat the right amount rather than too much. Eating slowly also makes for a more enjoyable time at the table. For us, it's worked the other way around, Jake has taught me to eat more slowly after years of wolfing down my food quickly on short breaks when I worked in restaurants. 

Have a little backup

Now that he's 6, about 2/3 of a portion is enough for Jake, less than 1/2 for James, (nearly 4) and about 2/3 of a portion for Casey (9). This changes according to how much they’ve run around, and I’ll often cook extra potatoes or grains to top them up. If they're still hungry, we just have more fruit afterwards.

Take a break

We’ve found that it’s a good idea to have a little break before giving kids seconds, so that they get used to the idea that food needs to settle a bit before they feel full up. This is a great time to catch up with what everyone did during the day. Saying that, lately, with the way that he is shooting upward and the new school term, Jake has been eating nearly as much as Jess! I’m still way out in front though.