​Are you over-feeding your kids?

​Are you over-feeding your kids?
11 July 2016

Mealtimes are an emotive issue in most families where children are concerned but one thing I haven't worried about is whether I might overfeeding my children. If anything, I fret over whether they're eating enough.

So I wasn't surprised to learn that 73 per cent of parents said they worried that their child might not be eating enough according to a poll over more than 1,000 parents, commissioned by the Infant and Toddler Forum (www.infantandtoddlerforum.org).

What're more one in ten of us are regularly serving up portions to kids that are more in-keeping with adult-sized portions, with 79 per cent of children aged between one and four years old frequently having meals dished up to them which are more than the recommended portion size for their age. Meanwhile only 25 per cent of the parents polled said they were concerned that their child might become overweight in the future.

Something that particularly surprised me was the number of parents - over one third of those polled - who said that they generally give their child a whole bag of crisps in a single serving - which is nearly twice the recommended amount.

Erm, it's never occurred to me to think that a full bag of crisps might be too much for my kids but I'll definitely be revising my portion servings in the light of this new data.

Oh, and it seems we're also serving up too much squash and juice.

But before you despair that you're doing everything wrong when it comes to feeding your kids, let me encourage you with the news that the Infant and Toddler Forum have produced a meal size guide to help us get serving sizes right.

You can check it out here.

Unsurprisingly, more than a third of parents said they use food or drink to calm a child down. Surely we've all done that?

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this story. Do you worry that you might actually be overfeeding your kids? And do you admit to using food to help soothe an unsettled child? Join the debate over on our Facebook page or leave us a comment below.

40 comments

  • SF K.

    Ffs! Lmao! If I gave my toddler 1/4 bagel and 2 wedges he'd look at me as if he was a lion being fed spinach. Who comes up with this nonsense?! Feed a child healthily and when they are hungry. Simple as!

    • Nicola H.

      My 3 year old daughter would be exactly the same. She would be even worse if I stood there and broke a biscuit in half for her!! Haha :rolling_eyes:

    • SF K.

      Hell hath no fury like a rationed toddler! :joy:

  • Ioana N.

    I trust my child with how much he eats. That's something I never worry about. He eats as much as he needs to eat

  • Hazel S.

    Surley letting your child regulate what they eat like they have been doing with milk for the first months of life is completely natural ? As long as the meals are healthy and balanced!

  • Sophie O.

    Rubbish my 18 month old eats a lot more than this and has always been small and is now losing weight if I gave him those sizes he would be a lot worse off

  • Marlena B.

    Not how much they are eating but what they are eating. We as a children eat as much as we needed but there never was ready meals, McDonald's etc. Always home made meals, vegetables and fruits

  • Kerry-ann S.

    I was on about this with my mom the other week . Frankie varies what she eats she will either eat loads or pick at her dinner . I panic when she only picks at it that she not eating enough and then when we read an article in the paper what she picks at is considered normal :smiley: But on other occasions she will have a bowl of pasta and then ask for more and eat it :joy:

    When it comes to her asking for fruit she will sit and eat a bowl which usually consists of a banana , half a pear , a satsuma and a kiwi (the article we read said half a kiwi was recommended for her age)

  • Sarah P.

    This is what my almost 4 yr old twins ate today and they are a healthy weight and sleep for 11 hours during the night...

    7.30am till 9.15am A bowl of cereal, a slice of toast, a mcvities digestive caramel and chocolate bar, an apple, a bag of space raider crisps

    11.45am A jam sandwich, chocolate mouse yoghurt, bag of space raider crisps

    1pm A bag of animal biscuits

    4.30pm Fresh home made shepherds pie (contains peas, onions, fresh garlic and herbs) with a Yorkshire pudding and gravy

    It makes me laugh seeing posts like these and all these so called 'perfect parents' feeding their kids endless amounts of fruit and only cups of water. Kids need junk food as well as healthy food to keep their energy levels up otherwise they become whiny and irritable and don't sleep properly :rolling_eyes:

    • Liz L.

      That's pretty similar to what my sons eat and they're both a normal weight too, and they get weighed every 3 months due to asthma meds. If docs aren't worried then neither am I x

    • Sarah P.

      My daughter (4yrs) lives off protein, veg/salad, pasta/rice,fruit, milk & water and very little or no processed sugar/salt. She sleeps, always has, for 10-13hrs a night, she is full of energy and never keeps still. Kids do not need junk for energy :rolling_eyes:. A healthy balanced diet is what they need. I'm no 'perfect' parent, just thought I'd put it out there that junk doesn't = energy

    • Rosie L.

      I limit the junk for my daughter too. She has pudding at school with her dinner, then I may allow crisps or a treat size chocolate bar with her tea - but that's it. The rest of her snacks are either fruit or veg based, or fruit yogurt. She is almost 6, sleeps for 11h a night and always has, is full of energy and has a healthy relationship with food.

    • Donna L.

      I wouldn't give my kids 2 packs of crisps in one day along with biscuits etc but that's just me x

    • Dave L.

      Junk food does not equal energy. Nutritious food equals energy. Junk food is full of fats and sugar. Not something that anybody needs. If junk food and healthy food equalled energy then why do you not see professional athletes always in McDonald's?

    • Sarah P.

      You misunderstand what I mean in regards to the article. If I gave my kids a bread stick instead of a bag of crisps they would burn it off faster. There's nothing wrong with giving them a whole biscuit and a bag of crisps as long as they have a balance of good foods too.

  • Lisa K.

    Worry? Seriously my kids will let me know when they have had enough, as for sweets and chocolate they are extremely limited anyway. This is just another silly reason to have a rant

  • Lindi S.

    My son can eat for Britain, yet is lean and strong. He has a varied, balanced diet, but eats more than this. He has a healthy immune system and loves to learn things.

  • Joanne C.

    My children are going to be obese !!! Both my 3 year old and 6 year old eat way more than this and are both well within the expected range for there age despite looking far older as they are both tall for there age.

  • Faith T.

    Surely everything in moderation and yet again I laugh at the idea of all children being tarred with the same brush!! Completely ridiculous I have 4 healthy children who apparently are the "correct" weight for their ages all eat differently from big appetites to small one day they eat loads another they don't some days they only drink squash others they choose water!! Yet another way of trying to take common sense out of life!!!!

  • Charley-Anne S.

    1 small floret of broccoli ?!?!? :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy: Yes let's be mindful of child obesity but let's also be aware of child eating disorders too !!!

  • Maggs R.

    Can tell that as he is growing and thriving xxx

  • Shellie H.

    That list is pathetic.. 4 - 6 crisps , 2 jelly babies or 2 squares of chocolate , 4 spoons of cornflakes !! What are they feeding , a hamster :joy:

  • Nicola S.

    interesting, according to this i need not worry about Mina, shes eating enough!

  • Chloe A.

    we must be over feeding ours :joy: can u imagine either being happy with the "recommended amounts" in that table x

  • Sarah T.

    were always worried Luci doesn't eat enough.. She eats more than this anyways x

  • Sarah N.

    My 1 year old eats way more than the recommended portions but she eats tons of veg. I limit junk. She only drinks milk or water because we don't offer anything else. She's a healthy weight so I'm not about to change what she eats.

  • Tara G.

    As my mum and Nan always say a child will stop when there full

  • Toni C.

    I'm ignoring this (buries head) as it will lead to more irrational anxiety......

  • Mummyof2

    My little boy is 3 1/2 and so far this morning he's had a small bowl of cereal one sleep ce of toast and has just asked for a yogurt there is no filling him at the minute he's heavy but very very lean. There are days sometimes weeks where he hardly touches food so while he's hungry I let him eat!

  • Vikki W.

    I don't think we need to worry lol

  • Vikki N.

    My little boy eats lots more than recommended. He loves bananas and would eat 2 a day if he could. He's 16 months old and 24lbs so not overweight atall.

  • Ellie F.

    I'm over feeding :rolling_eyes::joy: me and the kids

  • Sam C.

    So. That guide they've posted, you're telling me it's right to give a child white bread every day, just limit it to 1/2 a slice? Either they're not being very clear or that's rubbish!

    It's just been said, eat healthy and lots of exercise, easy!

  • Donna L.

    My 14 month old eats more than this but is by no means overweight, in fact she's small for her age. My eldest is tall and lean, some days she eats more than others. I believe everything in moderation, I don't keep much junk in the house at all, they snack on fruit/cheese/yoghurts/rice cakes with the occasional treat. Lots of veg at meal times too

  • Nadia M.

    Lol, he ate 5 brownies today :joy::joy:

  • Sasha H.

    See everyone on here is complaining that their kids eat much more than this. What about the parents (like me) who have an underweight child and need some sort of guideline to follow as we have to monitor everything going he eats to try increase his weight.

    They created it for all the parents worrying that the child isn't getting enough, it doesn't mean yours is fat because they eat way more than this.

  • Tracey C.

    This made me laugh when it came up on my news feed...couldn't imagine my 21 month old son eating half of anything...he has a very balanced diet and is extremely active and really tall for his age....he can eat half a corn on the cob and 3 chicken wings once I take them off the bone...yes some days he barely eats anything and I worry but I offer food little and often and he fine...not all kids are the same x

    • Sarah W.

      Joel is the same. One day he'll eat next to nothing the next day easily eat 3 meals and then looking for more x

  • Trish N.

    might put your mind at rest I know it has mine xxx

    • Tanya G.

      Thanks hun feel a lot better now hun it's good to know this xx

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment