*A collaborative post
Earlier this year, Olly and I took part in a project which looked at the size of toddler meal portions. The research was undertaken by the Infant and Toddler Forum which aimed to show the importance of portion sizes and to make parents aware of what they were feeding their children. It helped build a picture of what toddlers were eating and made me realise we were offering Olly larger than recommended portions.
In the next phase of the campaign, the ITF have asked us to take part in the Tot It Up challenge. The challenge aims to encourage 1000 mums (and dads) to try out the online Tot It Up tracker to build up a nationwide picture of eating habits and activity levels for the under 5’s in the UK. The Tot It Up tracker is an online food diary which lets parents input the food that their children are eating to gauge whether they are eating the recommended levels of fruit and vegetables, whether young children are getting enough meat and protein and whether children are getting the right balance in their daily meals and snacks.
Over the last week, we have been using the Tot It Up tracker to record what Olly has been eating and drinking and have been recording any activity he’s been doing. The tracker is very easy to use, you select the day you want to add food too and then add in breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks and any drinks. The list of foods is quite comprehensive and we were always able to add the foods that Olly had in his meals.
At the end of the day, parents are able to see a summary of the foods that their little one has eaten and it will give recommendations as to whether they have eaten the recommended amount of foods, or not.
All in all, Olly is eating a balanced diet. We are grateful that when Olly finishes pre-school in the morning, he goes to his Grandparents house for the afternoon and he will eat his lunch with them. His Grandparents offer him a variety of meals from cheese sandwiches and vegetable sticks to omelettes or cooked dinners with meat, potatoes and vegetables. Where he’s had a bigger meal at lunchtime, we’ll offer him a smaller meal at dinner time. We’re still battling to get Olly to eat something other than pasta every other night but always offer him pasta with ham or chicken and some sort of vegetables usually peas or sweetcorn.
It was interesting to note that it suggests we reduce the amount of sweet drinks we give to Olly and I personally think we’ve got the balance ok with that one. He doesn’t drink heavily diluted sugar free squash all the time, it’s very watered down and he will drink water at his Grandparents. We usually offer him a daily smoothie to make sure he’s getting the fruit intake as he won’t eat a banana on it’s own but will drink a smoothie with some banana in it.
The tracker also asks you to input the activity of your child to monitor these levels. Recommendations are that a child under five who can walk should be active for at least three hours a day. Physical activity counts as ten minutes of moving the body, for example, playing outside, swimming, walking or running. I’m pretty happy knowing Olly is getting lots of exercise. He’s pretty much always active and we have to encourage him to slow down for half an hour.
The ITF have released this infographic which highlights recommended portion sizes and is really interesting to have a look at.
On the whole, we’re pretty happy with the amount of food and drink that Olly is eating and drinking and is pretty much in line with the recommendations. Of course, there are days when Olly can eat more (hello growth spurt) and some days he doesn’t eat much at all. I’d like to get more variety in to his diet and offer him different foods but that’s a part of growing up and I’m sure what he eats now will be different to what he eats in two years time.
The Tot It Up challenge started yesterday (Monday 7th November) and runs until the 21st November 2016. Parents are encouraged to register on the ITF forum and complete at least one day’s food intake, drink and activity. Not only will parents be helping ITF build up the nationwide picture of what our under fives are eating and drinking, but ten lucky names will be drawn at random and will win a £50 shopping voucher!
Have you tried the Tot It Up tracker yet? What do you think? Check out the Tot It Up challenge today.