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Healthy Living

The amount of food and number of servings children need daily from each food group depend on their age and how active they are. Use the following table as a guideline for providing your children with a healthy diet.

 

Age, years

2 to 3

4 to 8

9 to 12

Food Group Portion Sizeb Daily Amountsc Portion Sizeb Daily Amountsc Portion Sizeb Daily Amountsc Comments

Milk, yogurt, and cheese

1/2 cup (4 oz) 2 cups 1/2 to 3/4 cup (4 to 6 oz) 2 cups 1/2 to 1 cup (4 to 8 oz) 3 cups Make most choices fat-free or low fat. The following may be substituted for 1/2 cup fluid milk: 1/2 to ¾ oz cheese, 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt, or 2 1/2 Tbsp nonfat dry milk.
Meat, fish, poultry, dry beans, eggs, and nuts 1 to 2 oz 2 oz 1 to 2 oz 3 oz 2 oz 5 oz Make most choices lean or low fat. The following may be substituted for 1 oz meat, fish, or poultry:
1 egg, 2 tbsp peanut butter, or 4 tbsp cooked dry beans or peas.

Vegetables

Cooked

 

 

Rawd

 

 2-3 Tbsp


 

Few pieces

1 cup 

 

3-4 Tbsp


 

Few pieces

1 1/2 cups

 

1/4 to 1/2 cup


 

Several pieces

 2 cups Include dark green and orange vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, broccoli, winter squash, or
greens. Limit starchy vegetables (potatoes) to 2 1/2 cups weekly (1 1/2 cups for 2- to 3-year-olds).

Fruit

Raw

 

Canned

 

Juice

 

1/2 to 1 small


2 to 4 Tbsp


3 to 4 oz

1 cup

 

1/2 to 1 small


4 to 6 Tbsp


4 oz

1 cup

 

1 medium


1/4 to 1/2 cup


4 oz

 

 


1 1/2 cups

Make less than half of total fruit choices juice.

Grains (bread, cereal, rice, and pasta)

Whole grain or
enriched bread

 

Cooked cereal

 

 

Dry cereal

 

 

1/2 to 1 slice

 

 

1/4 to 1/2 cup

 

 

1/2 to 1 cup

 3 oz eq

 

 

1 slice


 

 

1/2 cup


 

 

1 cup

 4 oz eq

 

 

1 slice

 


 

1/2 to 1 cup

 

 

1 cup

  One oz eq equals a 1-oz slice of bread. The following may be substituted for 1 slice of bread: 1/2 cup spaghetti, macaroni, noodles,
or rice; 5 saltine crackers; 1/2 English muffin or
bagel; 1 tortilla; corn grits; or posole. Make at least 1/2 of grain intake whole grain.
aSource: AAP Pediatric Nutrition Handbook
bTbsp = tablespoon; oz = ounce
cDaily amounts are from MyPyramid Plans to meet needs for sedentary children of average size at the younger end of each age range. Amounts shown are from 1000-kcal (2- to 3-year-olds), 1200-kcal (4- to 8-year-olds), and 1600-kcal MyPyramid Plans. Active, older, and larger children would need more energy and foods from each group. A specific MyPyramid Plan for a child of a specified age, gender, and activity level can be found at http://www.mypyramid.gov/. For children 9 years and older, height and weight can also be specified in selecting a MyPyramid Plan.
dDo not give to young children until they can chew well.

 

Last Updated
7/9/2014
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.