My child often leaves food that I give him for meals and I think he’s not eating enough, so I encourage him to eat more. What else shall I do?
Thanks for the question.
It sounds like portion size could be a factor here. Children’s tummies are really small – about the size of their fist – so offering them too much food can mean that they leave it. Try to offer smaller quantities of the foods at a meal.
You can use the rule of palm as a guide – serve your child’s palm-sized amount of the main meal (e.g., lasagne) and 2-3 palm-sized helpings of accompanying foods (e.g., vegetables). If your child eats all the food and wants more, you can provide this, and it’s much better – and less stressful – than trying to encourage them to eat food when they’re full.
Children are very good at knowing when they’re hungry or full, so trust them to tell you when they want food and when they don’t. I hope this helps.
Dr Emma Haycraft
Riverside Cares and the Child Feeding Guide share the importance of establishing healthy eating habits early in life. Visit our websites to learn more about ‘Feeding Children Well’ events, evidence-based programmes, and tips for feeding children.