Five toddlers toddle into a playgroup. One will be overweight.
That’s right, one in every five Australian toddlers and preschoolers are heavier than they should be, new figures show. And it’s prompted the government to urge parents to watch what their kids eat, as our country’s obesity crisis grows.
Australia now has the fifth highest obesity rate. But it’s not just adults who are packing on the excess pounds. Children, even toddlers, are turning tubby at alarming rates thanks to unhealthy lifestyles and poor food choices, a new government health report shows.
What’s to blame? One main reason, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, is bigger portion sizes, which have increased by a whopping two-thirds since 1995. We’re just putting too much food – and the wrong foods – on toddler plates.
Just how much should we be feeding our toddlers?
The news is causing major concern in parents with wee ones. Could our kids be at risk? Are we giving in to sweets too often? Are we loading them up on breads and cereals?
It can be tricky to know if your toddler is hungry, or simply wants a treat, if he’s full, or simply likes the taste of the food so much that he doesn’t want to stop. For parents, it’s hard to know too exactly how MUCH food we should put on their plates.
Infant and Toddler Forum have put together a handy visual guideline to help all of us confused parents. Take a look below to see what young children really should be eating.
Portion sizes for preschoolers
- Cereals and breads: three to five portions per day
- Fruit and veg: six to 10 portions per day
- Milk, cheese and yogurt: three portions per day
- Meat, fish, eggs, nuts: two to three portions per day
- Biscuits, cakes and puddings: one portion per day
- Juices, savoury snacks and confectionery: one portion per WEEK
For more information on the importance of healthy eating, check out our post on five reasons your child needs a healthy diet.