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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Healthy Portions - Food Guide

Healthy Portions - Food Guide

For most parents, it is important to try to start their child out with a healthy lifestyle. With childhood obesity and obesity related illnesses at such a high rate, it is on the minds of more parents. But, while parents want the best for their children, they might not always know what that is, and since children have different needs than adults, this can be a hard thing to figure out. The following is a general guide (including the USDA’s recommended daily allotment of foods as listed in their child food guide pyramid, as well as information on what constitutes a serving size) that can help parents not only help their children be healthy, but also possibly instill healthy habits in their children at a young age. Every day your child should eat and drink the following:

Six Servings from the grain group—

This includes such foods as breads, pastas, cereal, etc. Your child should have six servings, and the proper serving sizes for children are the following:

Bread—one slice

Rice—1/2 cup after cooking

Pasta—1/2 cup after cooking

Cooked Cereal—one cup

Three Servings from the vegetable group—

This list is quite long, and includes all vegetables, including such things as broccoli, corn, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and more. The serving sizes for
vegetables don’t vary much, and can be broken into two groups:

If the vegetable is leafy (such as cabbage)—one cup

Chopped raw or cooked vegetables—1/2 cup

Two Servings from the fruit group—

This is another long list, and includes items such as pineapples, bananas, oranges, apples, etc. The serving sizes on these can vary quite a bit depending on what type of fruit it is and what form it’s in:

Fresh Fruit—one piece (such as one apple) or slice (such as watermelon)

Juice—3/4 cup

Canned Fruit—1/2 cup

Dried Fruit—1/4 cup

Two servings from the meat group—

This group can get tricky, because not all the foods are technically meats, such as peanuts (and peanut butter), beans and eggs as well as the typical fish, poultry, beef and pork. The serving sizes are as follows:

Meat, Poultry or Fish—2-3 ounces cooked

Cooked Beans—1-1 ½ cups

Peanut Butter—4-6 tablespoons

Eggs—2-3 eggs

Two servings from the milk group—

This group is often known as the dairy group, and it includes milk, cheese, yogurts, etc. The servings for the different types of foods in the milk group are as follows:

Milk—one cup

Yogurt—one cup

Cheese—2 ounces

No servings (or as little as possible) from the sweets group—

This group is the main culprit for overweight children as well as diabetes in children. While it isn’t always easy to cut these types of foods completely out of your child’s diet, it is plausible for kids to only eat a very limited amount of them.

All of the serving sizes listed above apply mainly to children approximately 3-6 years old. When they are slightly younger than this, all serving sizes except for milk will be slightly smaller. Milk, though, will be a larger serving size or more servings a day for younger children. For older kids, the serving sizes will be slightly larger, and as the get older, their intake of servings per day will slowly increase.

One very important detail in creating and maintaining a healthy diet for children is to provide them with variety. Since every meat, fruit and vegetable offers different vitamins and nutrients, it is important to keep the selection well-rounded. It is also important to not substitute fruit servings with juice too often since juices almost always have added sugars and preservatives that can be avoided by giving the child fresh fruit instead.

Copyright 2013. All educational materials are the sole property of Kid First Internet and are available for the benefit of our parents. Duplication or use of any material requires the express consent of Kids First Internet.

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