Portion Size: Age Has Plenty to Do With it

girl holding vegetables and fruitYou can never have too much fruit. That bit of parenting was one mom’s valiant attempt to steer her kids away from junk food. The truth is, you can have too much of a good thing — even fruit!

When it comes to America’s growing waistline, poor portion control ranks right up there with lack of exercise and unhealthy food choices as a leading contributor. By teaching your kids proper portion sizes during their childhood, you can give them a healthy frame of reference that will serve them well their entire lives.

But how many vegetables should a 3-year-old eat? What’s the right portion size of bread for a 10-year-old? This handy chart gives you the right estimated portion size for children at various ages who are a healthy weight. Those who need to gain extra pounds or lose some might have different recommendations, so an appointment with a dietitian can be helpful for a more individualized plan.

Suggested Portion Size by Age

Food# of Servings Each Day1-3 Years4-5 Years6-12 Years12 Years +
Grains (bread, cereal, pasta)5 or less1/2 slice or 1/4 cup1/2 slice or 1/2 cup1 slice or 1/2 cup1 slice or 1/2 cup
Vegetables3-51/4 cup1/3 cup1/2 cup1/2 cup
Fruits2-41/4 cup1/3 cup1/2 cup1/2 cup
Dairy (milk products)2-31/2 cup3/4 cup1 cup1 cup
Protein2-31 oz. or 1/4 cup1 1/2 ozs. or 1/3 cup2 ozs. or 1/2 cup2-3 ozs. or 1/2 cup

 

What a Portion Size Looks Like

FoodAverage Serving SizeWhat it Looks Like
Meat
3 ozs.Deck of Cards
Pasta or Rice
1/2 cupYo-yo
Vegetables
1/2 cupYo-yo
Cheese
1 oz.Four Dice

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