Health and Parenting

Raising Fit Kids: Food

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  • Question 1/10

    How many servings is a plate of spaghetti at a restaurant?

  • Answer 1/10

    How many servings is a plate of spaghetti at a restaurant?

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    • Correct Answer:

    Whoa! That's a lot of pasta. One serving for kids 4 to 8 years old is only 1/2 cup. Kids this age only need 4 servings of grains a day. Since restaurants typically dish up 3-4 cups of spaghetti, that could be twice as many grains as they need in a day. And if they load up on cheese and meatballs -- mamma mia!

    Make it healthier: Order a small bowl of spaghetti off the kids menu. If your kids are still hungry, have them fill up with a side of broccoli, salad, or another favorite vegetable.

  • Question 1/10

    A can of soda is 1 serving.

  • Answer 1/10

    A can of soda is 1 serving.

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    • Correct Answer:

    A standard 12-ounce can is actually 1.5 servings. Whether you drink the whole thing or not, it's not a great choice, especially for kids. A can of cola, for example, has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, more than in a brownie. Sports drinks and juices also have sugar your kids don't need.

    Water is a better option, and kids can drink as much as they want. Low-fat milk is another great choice.

  • Question 1/10

    What does one serving of cheese look like?

  • Answer 1/10

    What does one serving of cheese look like?

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    • Correct Answer:

    Cheese is rich in protein, but it also can have a lot of unhealthy saturated fat. Don't overdo it by piling too much on your child's plate.

     

    One serving is three dice-size cubes, one slice, or one piece of low-fat string cheese. Kids ages 4 to 8 need just four servings of dairy a day.

     

    At the grocery store, look for low- or reduced-fat cheese. They’re better than full-fat versions but still have flavor.

  • Question 1/10

    What is a serving size of bread?

  • Answer 1/10

    What is a serving size of bread?

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    • Correct Answer:

    For 4- to 8-year-olds, a slice is one of the four servings of grains they should get a day. Whole-grain bread is the healthiest choice. The label should list whole wheat or whole grains first on the ingredients list.

     

    For a protein boost and satisfying snack, add a teaspoon of peanut butter and a few banana slices or a slice of low-fat cheese.

  • Question 1/10

    How many french fries are in a serving?

  • Answer 1/10

    How many french fries are in a serving?

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    • Correct Answer:

    They may be potatoes, but fries don't count as a healthy vegetable because they are fried. Ask a restaurant if you can get a salad or apple slices with your kid’s order instead.

     

    If your family needs a fries fix, make your own by slicing up sweet potatoes and baking them. That will spare your family the grease and extra calories that come from frying. Plus, sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A (great for eyesight) and calcium (growing bones).

  • Question 1/10

    How much pizza is a serving?

  • Answer 1/10

    How much pizza is a serving?

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    • Correct Answer:

    It depends on the size of your pie, but a serving -- for an adult or child -- is never more than one slice. If the slices are bigger than the size of two $1 bills laid side by side like a pizza slice, then cut it in half, especially if it's for your kid.

      

    Make pizza better by skipping the meat toppings and piling on broccoli, tomatoes, or spinach. Avoid the breadsticks and order a side salad instead.

     

    Your goal at every meal is to first fill half of your and your child’s plates with veggies and fruit. Then think of your main dish as the side item.

  • Question 1/10

    How many pancakes is a child's breakfast?

  • Answer 1/10

    How many pancakes is a child's breakfast?

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    • Correct Answer:

    Forget that short stack. Just one pancake -- the size of a CD -- is 1 serving of grains. Remember, they only need 4 servings of grains a day.

     

    The same goes for waffles -- 1 waffle is 1 serving, about the size of a CD.

     

    To make breakfast better, try whole-grain pancakes or waffles. They have more fiber than plain pancakes, so they are more filling and better for heart health. Skip the syrup to cut sugar and top with strawberries or bananas instead.

  • Question 1/10

    How many chicken nuggets are in one serving?

  • Answer 1/10

    How many chicken nuggets are in one serving?

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Nuggets are usually deep-fried, which can mean too much unhealthy fat. In a restaurant, order extra veggies on the side to help your kids fill up.

     

    To make your own chicken nuggets at home, dip pieces of chicken breast in egg white, then in whole-grain bread crumbs. Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 F on a foil-lined baking sheet.

  • Question 1/10

    A serving of ice cream is about the size of a lightbulb.

  • Answer 1/10

    A serving of ice cream is about the size of a lightbulb.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    Seem small? It's easy to over-scoop -- especially if you go to an ice cream parlor. But a serving is only 1/2 cup, so order a kid's size or split a cup with your child. Top off your scoop with some strawberries or banana slices. It adds nutrition and makes up for smaller portions.

     

    At the grocery store, read labels to compare sugars and unhealthy fats. Slow-churned brands are often a little healthier. And frozen yogurt isn't always better -- it can often have just as much sugar and unhealthy fat as ice cream.

  • Question 1/10

    It's always better to order off the kids menu.

  • Answer 1/10

    It's always better to order off the kids menu.

    • You answered:
    • Correct Answer:

    The portion sizes are more sensible, but the options are often limited. Chicken nuggets, mac 'n' cheese, and burgers aren't the best bets. Most kids’ meals are loaded with saturated fat, salt, and more calories than they need.

     

    Improve on a kids' meal by ordering a side of veggies. Or you can skip the kids menu and:

    • Order a healthy appetizer or several sides off the main menu to make a meal.
    • Share a tasty but healthy dish with your child.
    • Get him his own healthier, adult-sized entrée and box up the extra for leftovers.
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Sources | Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on August 03, 2017 Medically Reviewed on August 03, 2017

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on
August 03, 2017

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:

KidStock / Blend Images

 

SOURCES:

Cheryl Williams, RD, LD, nutrition program specialist, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Young, L. American Journal of Public Health, February 2002.
USDA, Choose MyPlate: "Food Groups, What Counts as an Ounce Equivalent of Grains?"
Mollen Foundation: "Serving Size vs. Portion Size: What’s the Difference?"

This tool does not provide medical advice.
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