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Parental help with portion distortion

08 Nov 2013 10:12

Good portion control should start at home, around the dining table and right at the point of serving breakfast, lunch or dinner. We do tend to associate food with love, something that happens all over the world and sometimes, this means that portion distortion sets in and we can over feed our children. 

As the kids get fatter, we refer to it as puppy fat, we tell ourselves that our child needs the extra fat for growth, to keep them warm if they catch a cold, in some countries it is associated with wealth and belonging to a rich family. 

Is it good for health, the child's heart and arteries? No not really, it can hinder a child's ability to join in sport and build muscle, which in turn impacts on their joints and overall fitness. One awful side effect is bullying from others in the school playground and even being bullied by adults who think that the parent is failing in their duty to the child.

Like most things, education is key - in parts of the UK, we have parents who think it is quite normal to wean their baby on liquidized happy meals from fast food burger chains, it is not.

Below is a chart which will help you understand just how many calories your child might need to sustain healthy growth. There are billy whizz kids who will require a little more but a little more equates to maybe 100 - 200 calories not a bar of chocolate at 275 calories followed by a packet of crisps at 140 calories. Sweets, crisps and chocolates should be seen as an occasional treat while the majority of calories should come from; whole grain, fruit, vegetables, lean meats, dairy and some fats.

For children, calorie amounts are related to age, so the BDA (British Dietetic Association) recommends an RDA of:


  • 0 - 5 months 650 calories

  • 5 -12 month 850 calories (weaning)

  • 1-3 years 1,300 calories

  • 4-6 years 1,800 calories

  • 7-10 years 2,000 calories