Kids Eat More When Given Large Servings

If you put a large plate of food in front of pre-school children, they’ll eat it, even if if they’ve had a lot to eat at their last meal, according to Cornell University researchers, who tracked the eating habits of 16 kids, aged 4 to 6 for up to 7 days in a row.

The study, released in this month’s Appetite, shows that the “most powerful determinant of the amount of food consumed at meals was amount served.”

“We found that portion size is, by far, the most important factor in predicting how much a child will eat,” David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and psychology, told UPI.

So, what’s a parent to do? Levitsky advises adults to try to avoid overfeeding their kids, perhaps by serving small portions.

Of course, another, more obvious idea is to serve kids lots of healthy, nutrient-dense, fiber-filled vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Think about it: If you serve your kids large portions of cookies, refined pasta, and other processed carbs, they’ll gain weight. And that, of course, could set in motion a whole chain of health woes.

3 thoughts on “Kids Eat More When Given Large Servings

  1. That just makes sense. I think it is true not only with children, but adults too. I think everyone has problems with portion control. Just look at the portions you are given at a restaurant. We come to believe that is one portion, when it is actually probably three. And if we clean our plate of course we will gain weight. If you weigh and measure food according to the portion indicated on the label, it is a real eye opener.

  2. Perhaps we should learn from smaller children then pre-schoolers. Before age 3, kids stop eating when they are not longer hungry. Even a new born knows when to stop. After 3, they become slaves to social/environmental triggers. We need to get in touch with the baby inside ourselves that ate to satiate hunger and no other reason.

  3. As a kid, we were forced to eat all the food on our plates. My mom would serve us these whopping huge portions and then we weren’t allowed to leave the table until we had eaten every last morsel. I hated it.
    Today, I struggle with portion size and have learned to take a little and then go back for more if I want it. That works quite well.
    My co-worker has raised her son to eat until he is full and to take smaller portions. This child is in no way overweight.

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