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Do you think you're overfeeding your toddler?

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You're Probably Overfeeding Your Toddler

Posted by Michele Zipp on January 4, 2013 

toddler eatingWhat my son eats or doesn't eat is a constant worry in my house. He's a very picky eater. A drinker, yes indeed. Hopefully that doesn't translate to when he's older and a big drinker means something not as adorable as a kid who loves his milky. And yes, I know drinking too much milk isn't a good idea either.

My daughter, his twin sister, can eat and eat and eat and sometimes she eats everything on her plate then starts working on what her brother hasn't eaten. Unless it's fish. She doesn't like fish, and my son will eat all of his fish and all of hers. But he can't eat fish every day. Even though I tried it once for a week and, by the end, realized he didn't like it so much anymore.

It seems though that maybe, just maybe, we are overfeeding our kids. Big surprise, right. We are a nation of super-sizing. Maybe our warped minds are just trying to get too much food down our kids' throats and we need to do some portion control. Yes, that's exactly it. 

Our toddlers and preschoolers still have tiny little bellies. Their stomach is about the same size as their clenched fist. Tiny! So let's take a look at these guidelines given to us by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ... that I paraphrased.

-- They say to start with a small serving size, which means not adult size portions, tiny little kid fist portions. Start small and let the child ask for more if still hungry. If you have a picky eater, the words "more please" might make you as happy as "I love you."

-- For each food item served, they suggest giving a tablespoon per year of age of each food. So if your kid is 3, give him 3 tablespoons of fish, 3 tablespoons of broccoli, and 3 tablespoons of cheese. (I can't believe this is enough, but it's what they are saying! Plus, they say start small and then give more as wanted so that seems about right. This IS about healthy eating habits.)

-- If your kid says she's full or starts picking apart the broccoli and throwing it you, it's time to remove the food. All done here! We need to respect that even if they ate two bites.

-- The "clean plate club" is for losers. Well, if your kid just gets in that "club" because she likes to eat, then great. If not, then no worries and no forcing.

I sure feel better about my picky eater now. He's gaining weight appropriately, going potty and all that, and is a happy kid, so I should have trusted my instincts. But when you grow up with an Italian family, eating a lot is the norm. And worrying about your kid eating when you're a parent comes with the honor.

Now that you've read this, do you think you were overfeeding your kids? Does this make you feel better about a picky eater?

by on Jan. 5, 2013 at 11:02 AM
Replies (81-87):
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM

My daughter is almost 18 months and she used to eat great but now it seems she is more picky. She does love a lot of healthy foods but at dinner time it's hard to try and get her to eat the main part of the meal. 

by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

My baby girl is 1 &1/2 yrs old and she eats by herself mostly with her hands but trys to use her spoon.  I always give her extra because i'm afraid she won't get enough to eat since half of it misses her mouth or gets throwed on the floor! lol! She refuses to let me feed her anymore *sigh* so i literally have to mop 3 times a day! But it's a constant fear of mine that she won't get enough to eat because of that!  She's healthy tho so i guess that's what matters!  

by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM

I think those guidlines are a bit off.  Young kids go through phases sometime they don't eat much & sometimes they eat a lot.  Also they go through growth spurts which affect their eating.  Unless you are feeding junk food, lots of processed food & lots of sugar & juice most kids will not overeat on their own & will stop when they are full.  I don't know about you kids but my when my little one eats he often wears more food than he consumes or it lands on the floor

by Bronze Member on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM
My kids eat as they please. I put food in front of them and its their choice to eat it or not. Though I do get a bit frustrated if they don't eat any...
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by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:47 PM

honestly i have a 1 year old and a 3 year old both have learned the cheeky idea of if you dont want it the dog prolly does or daddy both of them from when they started big boy food have done that. both have smaller plates thou i do semi encourage snacking since they need the nutrients to grow propperly. both my boys thou are on the lower end of the height and weight chart forthier ages which seems kinda normal to me since me and my younger brother where tiny as kids.

by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

We never had the "clean your plate" rule in our household.  The kids are an interesting mix of their mom and dad's different tastes.

The 2 girls like most everything that mom does - except the few green vegetables that mom likes. 

Everyone pretty much likes what dad likes, but that's because dad is somewhat of a picky eater himself. LOL

The youngest is the pickiest. He has a small menu to pick from and often gets tired of certain things because of it.   We do continue to encourage him to try new stuff and every so often he will.  But we never force him to eat stuff that we ourselves wouldn't touch (I hate peas - my mom always made me eat 1 spoonful at dinner. I still hate them.)

So pretty much the kids eat dinner if they like what's on the menu, otherwise they fend for themselves. They know how to make soup, macaroni n cheese, pizza, etc.

by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 5:33 PM
I think my daughter tries to snack a lot, but she definitely doesn't overeat.
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