Food for thought

Parents often worry because they think their young children do not eat enough. Some children seem to be naturally finicky. Others simply may be so overwhelmed by the amount of food placed on their plates that they do not know where or how to begin eating.

Experts tell us that a child needs one tablespoon of food per year of age at each meal. That means a 3 year old needs at least three tablespoons of food at breakfast, at lunch, and at dinner in order to maintain health and growth.

Allowing children to serve themselves encourages them to eat larger portions of a variety of foods. When children get to control their choices and the amount of food they take, mealtime becomes more enjoyable for them and you. Participation in meal planning and preparation also encourages children to feel that they are a part of the process of mealtime.

A family meal can be a time of conversation and sharing. Trying new foods at a young age can help develop healthy habits that last a lifetime! Studies show that children need to try a new food 8-15 times before they develop a taste preference.