balancing a child's Thanksgiving plate
Dayton Children's provide a photo and one minute video to illustrate
Gobble until you wobble may be a common philosophy on Thanksgiving, but for children, it’s important that parents fill those tiny bellies with the right foods. A child’s stomach is the size of his or her fist, so each bite needs to count.
Dayton Children’s Hospital put together a sample plate showing what a child’s Thanksgiving meal might look like. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends half a child’s plate be filled with fruits and vegetables. “Before you add anything else to your child’s plate, choose the fruits and veggies,” says Becky Gonter-Dray, RD, CSP, LD, pediatric dietitian at Dayton Children’s. “Choose low-calorie options, such as green beans, carrots, broccoli, even a side salad. Strawberries and red grapes add wonderful color to the plate, as well. For the starchy vegetables, like corn or potatoes, keep servings to a quarter of a cup.”
Children only need two to three ounces of meat a day, depending on their age. Three ounces is the size of a deck of cards or a computer mouse so keep the portion of turkey to no bigger than that size.
For carbohydrate-heavy items, like rolls and stuffing, go lightly. “A half a roll should be enough for a child’s appetite,” says Gonter-Dray. “For stuffing, keep it to a quarter of a cup.”
Side items and condiments can add a lot of unnecessary fat to a child’s diet. Keep gravy, butter and dip to a minimum. “No more than a tablespoon each,” says Gonter-Dray. “Look for alternatives, such as substituting hummus for dip or using the plain turkey drippings without adding all the flour to make gravy.”
To wash it all down, parents can provide a glass of low-fat milk. Water is also always a good choice. If parents want to provide a more festive atmosphere, low-calorie flavored sodas can be fun.
You don’t have to deny dessert, either. It is a holiday, after all! Let your child choose the one dessert they really want, and provide them with a child-sized portion.
Getting moving will also help kids stay away from the dessert table. Bring an active game, put on the music and dance or go for a walk. Any activity that gets them up and moving is going to help their growing bodies.
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