Parenting > Food and Nutrition

Portion Sizes for children

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I am a new Daycare Director and I am worried about the amouts of food the children in my centre are eating. I find it hard to know when a child is really hungry aor just eating for the sake of eating. Some of our 3 year olds will eat more than staff if allowed. I am looking for information on serving sizes for children but really have found no helpfull information. I have read a lot of information on how Canada is over feeding our children, and I know good nutrition is very importiant. We feed the children as healty as we can, but how much is too much?
Any advise??

Are you looking to find information for just 3 year olds or do you have concerns with other ages as well?

18 months to 12 years

Here are some links that may be of some assistance to you:

Although some of the information may be American, there are some tools that can help you.

In general a toddler serving is 1/4 of an adult serving.

One serving of meat = 4 marbles
One serving of chopped fruits/veggies = 3 dominoes
One serving of cooked pasta = a ping pong ball
One serving of cheese = 2 dice
One serving of juice = a shot glass


One serving of grains = 1/2 tennis ball
One serving of fruits/veggies =2 golf balls
One serving of milk = 9 volt battery
One serving of meat = a deck of cards

This is not written in stone, some children may eat more, while others may eat less. Some may eat more at snack times instead of meal times. 

Also to keep in mind, some children who are more physically active, premature or recovering from an illness will require more calories. On general children between 1 to 3 years of age require 82 calories per kilogram of body weight.

Hope this helps.

At the centre I work at we have a portion control document that accompanies our menus and are posted in each program room. We also have a budget of how much money is spent on each child per day, I don't know the amount off hand.

When serving a lunch or a snack I ensure that each child has enough of their portion, for their age group. We offer each child the choice of a lot, a little, or a taste of all items. If there is a child that only wants a taste of something or a little and doesn't want more/their whole alotted portion I then inturn give split that portion amongst the children who want more of the lunch/snack.

When our cook it making luch/snack, he goes by the portion control document, as well, when figuring the amount of lunch/snack to make.


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