What is a protein 'serving size' for young children?


birthdance

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I let them eat how much they want to eat. We start will a small amount on their plates, and if they want more I give more. They love roast chicken, they will eat most of an entire chicken to themselves when we make it. (3 kids) Some days they will sit down and eat more then I do, other days they will pick at their meat and push it around without eating any at all. It all evens out in the end.

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I'm just wondering because I find it hard to get my 5 year old to eat any protein at all. I'm always happy to let him eat as much as he wants, I was more looking for a minimum standard to aim for! The only time he'll eat a decent serving is if I cooked minced beef, then he'll eat a whole bowlful. Anything else I'll be lucky if he has more than one bite, and that one bite is because I make him. I can sometimes get him to eat a whole boiled egg. He eats a lot of plain yoghurt, and I want to try cutting out dairy, but I'm worried about where he'll get his protein from. He also doesn't eat any vegetables apart from mushrooms. Hmmm, maybe I should start a new thread? :rolleyes:

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Hmm, will he eat it if you make it really fun? Ham chunks on a skewer with fruit chunks? Or chicken kabobs? My kids love anything on a stick. They also really love chicken chunks on toothpicks so they can eat them like appetizers. If it was just on their plate they wouldn't be near as willing to eat them.

I really don't know what the minimum standard is for a child, we've never really had to worry about it.

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We've tried meatballs on toothpicks, chicken nuggets, letting him choose meals (he'll happily pick out something to cook from Eat Like a Dinosaur but then won't eat it), he helps cook (but won't eat what he's cooked), we garden, but he won't eat what we grow. We've always eaten relatively healthy (we used to follow the Weston Price Foundation guidelines) and he's never been fed processed or convenience foods at home. We always cook from scratch. My husband and I are food lovers and eat a wide variety of foods. We've done all the 'right' things and he just will.not.eat. His diet is basically plain yoghurt, peanut butter, banana, apple, mushroom, the occasional white rice or rice pasta, and he'll eat a decent serving of meat once a week when I cook mince so I can get some protein into him. He'll sometimes eat a boiled egg. He's a tall kid with lots of energy - I don't know how he survives!

He's been really picky since he was a toddler - wouldn't eat pretty much any food at all until he was two (he was still breastfeeding, so it wasn't too much of a concern) and has never been open to trying new foods.

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Texture is often the deciding factor for my kids, too. If he'll eat minced beef, would he eat minced chicken, ham, lamb, or fish? I have one daughter who won't eat "wet" fish, but if I take that same fillet and bake it dry, she eats it just fine. I puree vegetables like cooked spinach, where the flavor is fine but the texture makes them gag.

I also serve a lot of mixed bowl dishes: it would be minced beef with mixed vegetables, or pureed vegetables if they are picking too much out.

I "run out" of foods that I don't want them to eat. I ran out of milk and juice a long time ago. I've run out of other dairy now and I'm about to run out of the last of our cereal. The new choices are healthy whole foods.

Follow the rule of 20: Offer something 20 times before you decide they don't like something. Keep a chart to track how many times you have offered it. I insist on them taking one bite of a new food and then they can describe to me how it tastes but they don't have to finish it. Truthfully, I never count because I never stop. They either like the food or I just keep offering it. I can count on one hand the things they won't eat. Keep presenting small portions of everything and let him make the choices about how to feed himself.

Not everyone does this, but I save uneaten dinners until bedtime, because sometimes they will eat more of something they "don't like" if it's the only option available when they are hungry after dinner.

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I wouldn't worry too much about it. His body - especially since he's been eating whole foods for most of his life - knows what it needs. Give him an option you know he'll go for a few times each week and then let him be the boss. As long as the other food options are acceptable, there's (in my opinion) no need to worry about how much of what food group he's eating. I read once that a child's diet will naturally balance out over time and will tailor itself to their current needs (growth, fat, brain development, etc). My kiddos always back off of meat in the summer and tank up in the winter.

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I'm not sure if it's the same in Oz but we would get cautioned a lot after the age of 1 not to offer too much milk to the kids or they "fill up" on that and don't feel hungry for much else. I wonder if he's filling up on yogurt?

I have a picky eater as well. She relied heavily on cheese, and then we went dairy free with them a few months ago. It was a bit of an adaptation but were still going strong. Since then, my previous practically-non-meat eater has discovered a love for chicken, sausage, lunch meat and meat sauce (which she had never eaten at all before). She's 4.

So while I was worried about the protein, she's ended up surprising me and eating a more varied diet. Maybe she's just changing too, who knows.

If he likes ground beef, maybe try some more casserole type ideas with ground beef? Shepherds pie or "lazy cabbage rolls"?

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