The Importance of Portions

| Posted On Nov 05, 2015 | By:

At this month’s SMArt Kids share medical appointment (SMA), we learned how very imPORTant PORTions are!

Last month, the SMArt Kids learned the importance of preparing a healthy breakfast, and in October, we added to our healthy eating knowledge and focused on keeping portions appropriate for the kids’ ages and nutritional needs. This is not an easy task at home or when eating out. But the answer is right at your child’s fingertips…literally!

Each time we meet with the SMArt Kids, we remind them that at a typical meal:

(Sound familiar? That’s right, think choosemyplate.gov.) This month, we went a bit further and learned about using the rest of the hand to help keep portions under control. Take a look at these tips at your fingertips:

SMArt Kids Nov 2015 portions

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

SMArt Kids Nov 2015 platesWe also talked about the challenges of keeping portions under control wherever you are, be it at home, at school or when out to eat. The kids came up with some great ideas to avoid what we call the “portion pitfalls.” They suggested things like separating snacks into portion-controlled 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.

AT HOME

OUT TO EAT

IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION

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 challenge you and the SMArt Kids to complete the Portion Distortion quiz from the NIH website. 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? It has a 6-inch diameter and is 350 calories! Think about splitting the next bagel you order.

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

If you think your child would benefit from our monthly SMArt Kids SMA, we’d love to have him or her join us. We hold monthly sessions for boys and girls ages 8-12 years old at the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates practice in Burlington. Please call us at (781) 221-2800.

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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