SMArt Portions for Kids

| Posted On Mar 28, 2014 | By:

At this month’s SMArt Kids SMA, we learned how important portions are and how to keep portions appropriate for kids’ ages and nutritional needs. This is not an easy task at home or when eating out, but the answer – literally! – is right at your child’s fingertips!

Each time we meet with the SMArt Kids we remind them that at a typical meal, the protein serving should be palm-sized, the grain serving fist-sized, and the fruits and veggies should fill half the plate. This month, we learned about using the rest of your child’s hand to help keep portions under control. Take a look at these tips at your fingertips!

SMArt Kids March 2014 pic 1a

In addition to teaching us about this “handy” method, Linda Germaine-Miller, our SMArt Kids nutritionist, led the group in a fun activity that highlighted the importance of the MyPlate portions.  Using Sharpie markers, they creatively decorated plastic plates for at-home portion reminders.

SMArt Kids March 2014 pic 2aLinda also provided the kids with a list of “large portion” veggies, those that are healthy and safe to eat lots of!

SMArt Kids March 2014 pic 3a

We also talked about the challenges in keeping portions under control, whether it be at home, at school or when you go out to eat. The kids came up with some great ideas to avoid what we call the “Portion Pitfalls” – they suggested such things as separating snacks into portion-control baggies, putting goodies away in cupboards, slowing down the meal with sips of water or conversation, making snack time only fruit or veggies, sharing meals when eating out and decreasing the frequency of dessert. All are great ideas!

Here are some more strategies you can use with your family:




WHEN BUYING BULK ITEMS OR LARGE PACKAGES For some reason, the larger the package, the more people consume from it without realizing it. To minimize this effect:

Lastly, we challenged the SMArt Kids to the Portion Distortion quiz from the NIH. Visit the website to take the quiz yourself. It’s amazing to see how portions have exploded in the last 20 years. For example, a typical bagel of the past was 140 calories with a 3-inch diameter.  Now in 2014?  It has a 6-inch diameter and 350 calories! Think about splitting the next bagel you order.

We look forward to seeing our SMArt Kids in April. Until then, be SMArt and remember how important portions can be!

If you know a child who would benefit from attending our SMArt Kids SMA, we’re welcoming new patients. We hold sessions monthly for boys and girls ages 8-12 years old at the Burlington practice of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.  Please call us at 781-221-2800 for more information.


Brittanny Boulanger, MD

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About Dr. Brittanny Boulanger

Joined Harvard Vanguard: 2005 Undergraduate School: Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Medical School: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA Internship: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Residency: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Board Certification: Pediatrics Hospital Affiliations: Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; Winchester Hospital, Winchester, MA Clinical Interests: Newborn medicine and adolescent medicine Personal Interests: Running, soccer, hiking, skiing, travel and spending time with her two young children.

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