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New Guidance for Infant & Toddler Portion Control

New Guidance for Infant & Toddler Portion Control

The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) has updated their 1-4 years portion size guidance in line with new UK energy recommendations.

The revised recommendations for energy intake in the UK are in light of new, more accurate methods to assess energy expenditure, and re-evaluated the Dietary Reference Values for food energy in the UK.
The guidance that infants and toddlers should be allowed to eat to their appetite and should not be made to eat more when they signal that they have eaten enough, remains unchanged within the ITF guidance. The new Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutition (SACN) energy recommendations are very similar to the previously recommended values for most age groups, but are lower for older infants and young toddlers.

Judy More, Paediatric Dietitian and member of the ITF, said: “These new energy recommendations emphasise that small portions of nutritious foods are adequate for toddlers. Healthcare professionals can use the ITF portion sizes to reassure parents who worry unnecessarily that their children aren't eating enough and to help prevent obesity in under5s by showing parents how little of high energy foods toddlers should be given.

See our portion size guide chart (pdf) here

In addition, we have updated our advice to emphasise to parents and health care professionals that portion sizes for very young toddlers aged 12 to 24 months should be those at the lower end of our published ranges. We also recommend that toddlers under two years of age are not offered low nutrient foods high in fat and sugar – including savoury snacks such as crisps, cakes, biscuits, confectionery or chocolate.”

Dr Atul Singhal, Professor of Paediatric Nutrition at the Institute of Child Health and Chair of the ITF, said: “Dietary Reference Values for energy intake were last looked at by Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) in 1985, but the way they were measured was not as accurate as can be achieved today. During the first five years of life environmental factors such as portion size become increasingly important determinants of food intake therefore we felt it was important to update our guidance to help parents and early years settings serve appropriate portion sizes of food to toddlers.”

Information on Children's Portion Sizes

November 2012


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