By serving your preschooler low fat meals, you’ll help keep her weight under control and lower her risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses later in life.
Between the ages of 4 and 5 years, you should reach a level where your child is getting fewer calories from fat (rather than the 50% she had been consuming up to 2 years). Once she reaches this lower target of fat intake, it will coincide with the recommendations made for most adults and older children, so your entire family can now be eating the same diet. At this time, most of your family’s calories (about 55% to 60%) should come from carbohydrates, with more modest amounts of fat and protein.
What kind of fat-reducing changes should you be making?
Kids at risk of being overweight or whose families have a history of obesity, heart disease or high cholesterol should get reduced fat 2% milk between 12 months and 2 years and all children should be switched to low fat 1% milk after their second birthday.
Select grilled or broiled fish or lean meats.
Serve cheese only in modest portions.
Give your child whole fruit to meet her recommended fruit intake, limiting fruit juice consumption to no more that 4 to 6 oz per day (from ages 1 to 6 years). Remember, this is 100% juice, not juice drinks.
For snacks, rely on low-fat choices like pretzels, fresh fruit, or fat-free yogurt.
When preparing food, use cooking methods like steaming, broiling, and roasting that don’t require fat during cooking, or use only a small amount of olive oil or nonstick spray.