A Balanced Diet for Kids

  Every parent realizes the importance of a balanced diet for kids. We all want our children to grow strong and healthy, and providing them with the right food choices is the best place to start.

     -They'll follow your example; so lead them down the right path.

 Balance  is always the key, and foods from  all the food groups  really need to be included.

This is why it is so important to start them off as  young  as possible before acquiring their "junk food taste buds".

If you can start them out young on healthy cereals, fruits and vegetables, they'll have a natural desire to keep eating them. 

-You won't have to try to get them to eat right ...they'll actually want to!

 If you're trying to start their healthy eating quest at a later stage, it's never too late to start, but you may have to be inventive. Try celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins; believe it or not they're delicious!

-Whole grain crackers, grapes, raspberries, carrot sticks and other veggies in fun shapes, use your imagination and let them help with their ideas.

   -How many calories for kids? 

 The adult chart is much the same as the balanced diet for kids chart, of course the serving sizes are smaller for a child's diet, and there is no group for oils in the kids chart, enough is eaten daily, although low and healthy (no trans or saturated) fat choices are recommended.

-Below, the chart for a balanced diet for kids shows the number of servings from each food group children should eat on a daily basis, according to healthy eating guidelines for a balanced healthy diet.


Balanced Diet For Kids Chart

Food Group Servings Each Day Typical Serving
(Any combination)
Milk, Soy milk, cheese, yogurt
Minimum 2 - 3
servings each day
for all children
over 2 years old

8 oz. milk, cup yogurt
1 Yogurt smoothie or
buttermilk (6 oz)
6 oz of Ricotta
or cottage cheese
1-1/2oz. Hard
cheese or
2 oz. Processed
cheese (2-3 slices)

Poultry, fish, eggs,
tofu, dried beans,
lentils, seeds, nuts
Minimum of 1 serving
per day for 2-5 year
olds & school children

2 slices cooked meat
(approx 3-1/2 oz)
2 eggs or 1 medium
fillet of fish,
1 chicken leg or 2
drumsticks -2 tbsp of
peanut butter
-1 oz. seeds or nuts
-3/4 cup
cooked or canned
beans, lentils
or peas

Breads & Cereals
Minimum of 4 servings
for age 2-5 years.

-Minimum of 5 servings
for over 5 years

1 med. slice of bread
1 small muffin or roll
2 large or 3 small
crackers. 1/2 cup
cooked cereal or
3/4 cup dry
1/2 cup cooked
rice, pasta - noodles

Fruits Minimum of 2
servings of fruit
for 2 years
old and above

small apple, banana
peach or nectarine
2 plums, 12 grapes
Handful of blueberries
4 or 5 strawberries
4 oz. of fruit juice

Vegetables Minimum of 2 servings
of vegetables for
2-5 year olds

-Minimum of 3 servings
of vegetables over
5 years old

Serving will fit in the
palm of your hand
(peas,beans etc)
6 baby carrots, one
small tomato, 6 small
broccoli crowns, 1/2
ear corn, 1/2 small
potato. -Better raw
but can be cooked.
-4 oz. vegetable juice.


   How Many Calories Do They Really Need?

 For most kids the actual number of calories per day is not a major concern, unless weight is an issue. It's still a good idea to check the amount of calories your child eats each day on occasion just to ensure the portions you serve are correct. You may be in for a surprise.

     For some children a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

A balanced diet for kids -Courtesy Nutrition Education

A growing child needs as much or more than an adult in regards to their nutrition.

It's important for them to get proper protein, vitamins, minerals, carbs and  some  fats as well.

More  balanced nutrition , not just more food.

-A  balanced  diet for kids -gives them what they need in this regard.

 According to the  Mayo Clinic,  depending on growth and activity level:

  • Boys and girls 2-3  -Require 1000 - 1400 calories every day

  • Girls ages 4 to 8  -Need 1,200 to 1,800 calories daily.

  • Boys ages 4 to 8  -Should have 1,400 to 2000 calories per day.

  • Girls ages 9 to 13  -Need 1,600 to 2,200 calories every day.

  • Boys ages 9 to 13  -Should get 1,800 - 2,600 calories per day.

  • Girls age 14 to 18  -Need between 1,800 - 2,400 calories each day.

  • Boys ages 14 to 18  -Require 2,200 - 3,200 calories every day

Once again, Balance is the key, and foods from all food groups need to be eaten if the proper levels of nutrition are going to be met. A close eye on the method of cooking is necessary as well; avoid frying to maximize nutritional benefit and to avoid the fat and cholesterol that come with it.

-Teaching children good-eating habits at an early age is the best way to ingrain healthy eating habits in them that will last a lifetime. This will ensure a long, happy and healthy future for them ...and for you too!

-Check out this  customized daily food plan  that is specific to your child's age, height and weight from the USDA and ChooseMyPlate.gov


  What Is Your Child's Projected Adult Height?
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All Beef Frankie: A Story of Childhood Obesity

From  Balanced Diet For Kids  - Back to  My Plans for Healthy Eating

Back to Kids Diet Chart

-Additional Helpful, Healthy Links...

10 of the Healthiest Foods - 14 Easy Low-fat Diet Ideas - Fat Grams Or Calories?

BMI Chart - Benefits of Water - Rates of Obesity - Calories Burned in 15 Minutes

Positive Self Talk - Adults Chart for a Balanced Diet

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