Teach your toddler portion control with these helpful tips to guide your little one in understanding kid-sized food servings and the value of moderation.
The toddler years are a critical period for parents to teach basic life skills. After learning how to properly portion your child’s meals, it’s imperative to help your child adopt proper eating habits themselves to ensure they have a healthy relationship with food. It’s also important to remember that instilling good eating habits in your toddler goes beyond the types of food you’re serving them.
As your toddler becomes more independent, they’ll gain the confidence to make decisions on their own, which means deciding how much they eat. It’s important to know how to teach your toddler portion control to help them make the healthiest decision for themselves.
Teaching an energized little one the importance of boundaries can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Learn how to teach your toddler portion control by exploring these helpful tips to guide your little one in understanding kid-sized food servings and the value of moderation.
1. Go Kid-Sized
Children are more likely to overeat when their plate is oversized. Invest in plates and bowls that have kid-sized compartments to teach your toddler about portion control. If your toddler has an organized plate, they’re more likely to get into the habit of serving themselves a proper amount of food.
2. Pre-Pack Snacks
Snack time is important in the life of a growing toddler, and it’s also an opportunity to reinforce portion control. If you’re bringing snacks to a play date or family outing, be mindful of portioning your toddler’s snacks in containers and baggies. Avoid toting the family-sized bag of pretzels around if you want your toddler to understand they can have a certain amount of pretzels and be satisfied.
3. Teach Hunger Cues
It’s important to teach your toddler how to listen to their body regarding hunger cues and how to know when they are full. If your toddler becomes accustomed to eating out of boredom or emotion, they’re less likely to be mindful of portion control. Help your toddler make the connection between a stomach growl and snack time or knowing the difference between comfortable fullness or giving themselves a stomachache from overeating.
The key to teaching your toddler portion control is welcoming an open conversation about eating and their feelings around food. Everyone’s dietary preference and needs vary, and your toddler’s eating habits are bound to change as they grow. A toddler may resist portion control and view it as a type of punishment, so it’s important to help them avoid this negative association. Be mindful of teaching your toddler that portion control allows them to enjoy the experience of food without discomfort.