Getting your little ones to learn about portion control is the first step in empowering them to take control of their health at an early age. Page Content“Getting your little ones to learn about portion control is the first step in empowering them to take control of their health at an early age,” says Debra Luben, M.D., a pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Portion control requires planning meals in advance and understanding how much of each food group your child should be consuming.”Encouraging good eating habits begins with filling your kitchen with a variety of nutritious foods. Keeping finger foods such as apple slices, bananas or carrot sticks are healthy alternatives for afternoon snacks.As you plan meals and snacks, keep in mind this recommended daily guide to portion size:GrainsKids 4-6: 6 servings dailyKids 6-11: 5 to 7 servings daily1 slice of whole-grain bread = 1 servingVegetablesKids 4-6: 3 servings dailyKids 6-11: 4 to 6 servings daily1 cup of cooked vegetables = 1 servingFruitsKids 4-6: 2 servings dailyKids 6-11: 3-4 servings daily½ cup of fresh fruit = 1 servingDairyKids 4-6: 2 servings dailyKids 6-11: 3 servings daily1 cup of milk = 1 serving ProteinKids 4-6: 2 servings dailyKids 6-11: 5 to 6 servings daily2-3 oz. of cooked meat = 1 servingUnhealthy portion sizes are closely linked to childhood obesity and a number of other health-related problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. Eating nutritious foods in moderation may help lower the risk of your child having these health complications in the future.“Another way to help children make wise food choices is to set a good example for them to follow. If parents include a healthy diet as a part of their daily lifestyle, children are more likely to adopt the same lifestyle as they get older. A few simple steps on your part can help your child learn eating habits that will last for a lifetime,” concludes Dr. Luben.