Children are able to regulate their food intake to meet their energy requirements for physical activity, normal growth and development. This might mean that your child seems to be full of energy, even when they haven’t eaten very much. 

 

Often, parents underestimate how much their child is eating because they don’t account for snacks and milk between meals which are also providing energy. This might mean that the intake at mealtimes is smaller than we might like but with small tummies and concentration spans, toddlers often manage better having nourishing snacks and smaller meals. 

When children are going through a period of rapid growth, their appetites will increase and when growth slows again, their appetite will naturally decrease. Sometimes this causes parents to worry but it is important to trust the process and feed your child to their appetite.  

Sometimes, parents may regularly offer larger portion sizes than their child requires, or they may offer snacks or foods that are less well balanced. This can override a child's natural ability to regulate their appetite, leading to weight gain. 

 

Mini Mealtimes draws on published data on portion sizes among children in the UK [1], allowing parents to see what an average portion size is for their child’s age. Your child may need to eat more or less than the average, and while the app would not suggest that there is an ideal portion size for a given age/weight/height/physical activity, it may be useful for parents to be able to see what is typical. This may be particularly useful for those parents who offer large portions of food that are routinely left uneaten or parents who are worried about their child eating too much. Parents are encouraged to offer their children appropriate portion sizes of foods from the food groups and to allow their child to eat until his/her appetite is satisfied.

 

The nutritional value of foods and drinks consumed will be calculated from databases that draw on published data on the composition of foods and on manufacturers’ data.

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