We're all settling in the living room when Audrey says she's thirsty. Jennifer doesn't ask her what she wants to drink - - she simply brings her water. "We always have water with dinner and skim milk with our breakfast and lunch," says Jennifer, putting down the biggest cup I've ever seen anyone give a little kid. It must hold at least 20 ounces. "Is Audrey going to drink all that?" I ask Dr. Wansink, marveling that she hasn't spilled a drop yet. "No, but she might drink eight or nine ounces of water from this cup compared with four or five if we poured her drink in a smaller one," he says. "We're finding that children, just like adults, will eat or drink much more of something if they get a bigger portion of it."
Before I have a chance to ask whether this applies to vegetables, he brings it up. "I know a lot of parents who put a couple of carrots or green beans on their kid's plate and tell him just to eat these few. "What happens? He ends up eating one or two. Don't be afraid to pile on one-quarter or even one-third cup of veggies -- that's the proper portion range for young kids," says Dr. Wansink, who helped develop the food pyramid for preschoolers when he took a break from Cornell last year to serve as executive director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, in Alexandria, Virginia. "But you don't want to put on more than that amount because you want children to get to know what a proper serving looks like."