Children’s Portions Matter

Portions Matter

We all have heard the term “portion distortion” as a description of how portions have been changed and distorted since the 1970’s. What is a proper portion for your child, grandchild, for you or your husband? There is no one size fits all. Remember we are each as different as our fingerprint and will need various amounts based on our body type, activity, and gender. Listed below are a few guiding principles.

One guideline or “Rule of Thumb” for children 1-4 years of age is to serve them 1 Tablespoon of each food group per age.

A 3 year old’s breakfast might look like this:

3 Tablespoons of scrambled eggs

3 Tablespoons of colorful diced fruit

½ piece of toast cut into triangles

½ cup milk

 A 4 year old’s dinner might look like this: (4 T = ¼ cup)

¼ cup chopped chicken (with dipping sauce limited to 1 tablespoon)

¼ cup mashed potatoes

¼ cup green beans

¼ cup fruit salad with plain yogurt

 * Young children these ages really do need snacks too, so don’t get nervous!

 Did you know?

  • Daily calorie intake for a weight challenged 8 year old girl = 1200 calories.
  • Calories in a cheeseburger children’s meal with milk = approximately 600 calories, which is 50 % of her calorie needs for the day!
  • Calories in a home cooked dinner for an 8 yo sedentary girl should be = 450 calories.

 Approximately 445 Calorie Dinner Example for 8 yo sedentary girl:

  • 2 oz. of baked chicken (chicken leg) = 100 calories
  • ½ cup corn = 80 calories
  • ½ cup green beans = 25 calories
  • 1 ¼ cup fresh fruit = 75 calories
  • 1 cup low fat milk = 120 calories
  • 1 tsp. butter = 45 calories
  • Age, Gender and Physical Activity Level3
  • (An individual’s calorie needs may be higher or lower than these average estimates)

Gender

Age (years)

Sedentary

Moderately Active

Active

Child

(Male and Female)

     2-3

1000-1200c

     1000-1400c

1000-1400 c

Female

     4-8

1200-1400c

     1400-1600c

1400-1800c

 

     9-13

1400-1600c

     1600-2000c

1800-2200c

 

     14-18

     1800c

        2000c

     2400c

 

     19-30

1800-2000c

     2000-2200c

     2400c

 

     31-50

  1800c

         2000c

     2200c

 

       51+

  1600c

         1800c

2000-2200c

 

 

 

 

 

Male

4-8

1200-1400c

1400-1600c

1600-2000c

 

9-13

1600-2000c

1800-2200c

2000-2600c

 

14-18

2000-2400c

2400-2800c

2800-3200c

 

19-30

2400-2600c

2600-2800c

3000c

 

31-50

2200-2400c

2400-2600c

2800-3000c

 

51

2000-2200c

2200-2400c

2400-2800

 

  • Sedentary = Day to day life activity
  • Moderately active = Physical activity equivalent to 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3-4 miles                                                             per hour in addition to light physical activity associated with day                                                     to day life.
  • Active =    Physical activity equivalent to 3-4 miles per day at 3-4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with  day to day life.                                                                                     

 *These calories are not appropriate for women pregnant or breastfeeding.

 3Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2012. Chapter 2

 Monday we will discuss another practical method for estimating proper portion sizes.

 

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