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I am a kind of person who feels most comfortable when I have a measuring cup by my side in the kitchen. I find it hard to go by the approximations that our mothers use. Phrases like, “just make a thick enough batter,” or “just roast enough so that it is neither light nor dark” don’t ring a bell in my brain. I prefer instructions like “mix 1⁄2 cup flour in 1 cup water” or “roast at medium high for 5 minutes.” You get what I am saying?
My obsession with measuring cups rose to a whole different level when my daughter turned 1 and started eating solid food comfortably. While breastfeeding, I could never measure how much milk she was drinking. But now, she was weaned off and I could measure how much milk she is drinking and how much food she is eating. So here I went, feeding my daughter only after I have measured the quantity using my measuring cups!
The question about balanced diet struck me a little later. One fine day, as I gloated in the fact that I had fed 2 cups of cereal to my daughter, I wondered whether I had in fact overfed her. I was measuring the quantity of food that I am feeding but I wasn’t measuring how much of what. I wasn’t measuring how much carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals she is having throughout the day, if I am giving more of something and less of something.
For a toddler, feeding something from each food group is important; however, equally important is feeding a balanced diet. The quantity of food that should be fed to a toddler would change depending upon the food group that food belongs to, on how much of that food group child’s body requires.
I came across this chart by Eat Right initiative of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The best part about the chart is that it is for vegetarian diet -
I consulted with my daughter Little B’s pediatrician regarding this chart and he did give it a go ahead. He only cautioned me about two things one is to not take this chart as an absolute thing. According to him nutrition is about average so as long as Little B was near the numbers mentioned in the chart, it’s alright. I have to just try to make sure that Little B eats from every food group at least once in her daily diet.
The chart made measuring balanced diet easier for me. I got an idea of what I was already doing right and what other changes I can do to my daughter’s diet to make it better. I used the chart as just a guide. I kept on making changes to it depending on my own judgement and Little B’s development.
I have met mothers who feel confident of their child’s nutritional requirements without measuring anything (I’m in awe of you guys, how do you mothers do it?!). I have also met mothers, who just like me, feel satisfied only when they can measure with a chart in hand! What do you do?! Let me know in the comments below!