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Plate Portioning
Meal size should depend on many factors including age, gender, activity level and appetite. Adults and children alike can get all the nutrients they need without eating too much by using plate portioning and appropriately sized plates for their age. It’s important that we learn to eat only as much as we are hungry for and to include a variety of foods at each meal.


Proper Portion SizesPlate portioning is an easy technique you can use to serve well-balanced meals and teach your children about portion size. Start with an appropriately-sized dinner plate for your child’s age: the youngest use the smallest sized plates (about 5 inches wide), while an older child (and adults!) may use a 9-inch dinner plate. Avoid using the oversized 10- and 11-inch plates that have become popular in recent years, as they promote overeating. By following the tips below you help your child have a nutrient-rich day:
  • In one quarter of the plate serve a lean protein. This can be poultry, fish, lean meat, eggs, or even beans. Grill or roast skinless poultry, fish and meat, and skip heavy sauces.
  • Reserve another quarter of the plate for a whole grain. Brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, couscous and oats are all tasty possibilities.
  • The other half of the plate is available for fruits and vegetables. Choose whatever combination you like, depending on the season and time of day. To make sure they get a variety of important nutrients, always encourage your children to choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Steam or bake vegetables, and don’t cover them in high calorie sauces or butter.
Expose children to the plate portioning technique early. This is an excellent tool for the entire family to use to create balanced meals with ease!