Food Guidelines for Kids

Feeding your children a balanced diet begins with knowing how many servings from each food group your child needs. While individual requirements can vary from child to child depending on their age, size, level of activity, how quickly they are growing and their appetite, the following are the basic daily food guidelines for young children up to the age of six.

Food Group Recommended Daily Intake
Dairy Products Two Servings
Fruits and Vegetables Total of Five Servings between the two groups
Meat and Alternatives Two Servings
Grains Products Six Servings
Fats and Sweets Use Sparingly

While all this food may seem like a lot for a little child, remember that portions should be kid-friendly. A serving size for a preschooler is not the same as an adult-sized serving. Here are some examples of appropriate food portions for children:

Food Group A Child-Size Serving Is Equal To:
Dairy Products 1 cup of milk
1/3 to 3/4 cup of yogurt
2 oz of cheese
Fruits and Vegetables 1/4 cup of dried fruit
1 melon wedge
1/2 to 1 piece of medium-sized fruit or vegetable
1/2 cup of chopped vegetables
Meat and Alternatives 1 egg
1/4 to 1/3 cup of tofu
2 oz of cooked lean meat, fish or poultry
1/2 cup of beans
1 to 2 tbsp of peanut butter
Grains Products 1/2 to 1 slice of bread or muffin
1/4 to 1/2 cup of cooked pasta
1 oz of dry cereal

Younger children may eat smaller portions than older children. However, all children need to have at least two servings of dairy products everyday. Milk is an excellent source of vitamin D, an essential vitamin for the healthy development of bones and teeth.