Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education
Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education
Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education
University of California
Niños Saños, Familia Sana: Family Nutrition Education

Lesson 1.6: Serve kid-sized portions


Young children naturally stop eating when they are full. Still, parents often worry that their children are not eating enough. Since young children eat small amounts of food throughout the day, adults may not see how it all adds up in a day’s time.



A bag of chips or a candy bar may not seem like a lot of food but these foods are often high in calories. Children easily fill-up on snack foods and sugary beverages and then refuse to eat healthier foods at dinner. If parents insist on “cleaning the plate”, children may learn to overeat. Many adults overeat because they do not stop eating even though they are full.


To shift to a healthier eating style, people need to cut back on foods and beverages high in saturated fat and added sugar. This means eating smaller portions of those items and more importantly, replacing them with healthier foods and beverages. MyPlate provides useful tips for parents on the amount of food and beverages that  children need. Adults can also find tips on how to eat less  while still enjoying their favorite foods.


Teaching Tips: In this lesson's  activity, the instructor first shows how healthy foods and beverages, shown as green wedges, add up to meet a child's daily food needs. Next, participants cover over the healthy choices with red wedges to see how too many snack foods replace healthier foods.  

Target Audience:  Latino families with children, 3-8 years

Key Message: Serve small portions of foods to young children.

Objectives: By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

1) Explain why it is important to allow young children to stop eating when they are full;

2) Explain how unhealthy foods may replace the foods that children need to grow and stay healthy; and

3) Identify what parents can do to encourage a good appetite at meals.


Paper plates

Green and red poster paper cut into wedges (see set-up)

MyPlate poster; and

Supplies and recipes for food demonstration (suggested Apple Coleslaw)

Handouts: Apple Coleslaw Recipe (English) (Spanish)

Set-up: Before class, prepare green and red wedges for either a class discussion or small group activity. See guide for examples of foods to use for healthy and unhealthy eating patterns. Note: all examples used in the healthy eating pattern are based on recipes found on this website.

Click here to download complete English version of lesson plan Lesson 1.6 Serve kid-sized portions(English)


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