Example of Children's Food Pyramid

Article by Diet Bites

Defining a Child's Nutritional Needs

The data chart contained within this page is a daily guide outlining the nutritional requirements for children ages four to six, and examples of 'serving sizes' based on information determined by the USDA.

Children ages two to three should eat less, except where the dairy category is concerned. All children aged two to six require two cups of milk per day, or two servings from the dairy group. A serving of dairy is typically considered as eight ounces of low fat yogurt, 1/2 cup of reduced fat cottage cheese or a cup of low fat buttermilk.

Take special note that although cream cheese, cream and butter is often assumed to be housed within the Dairy Group, the fact is that these foods are so extreme in dietary fat content - particularly the unhealthy saturated fats, that they are not recommended in the official American Food Pyramid.

Fat Adds Flavor Along With Unwanted Layers of Body Fat

While minimal fat is recommended in the daily diet for optimum health, be very careful of the amounts that are added to the foods that you provide for your child. Keep in mind that when they consume more energy than their body uses, fat cells are formed for storage purposes. As these build, so do tiny layers of fat - which is a very unhealthy circumstance, particularly to the growing child.

How can you keep fat grams at a minimal? Keep in mind that most of the foods within our day come straight from the garden containing fat. In the case of vegetables, most of the fat is minimal. For the rest such as corn and avocado and olives - rich oils are expressed from these foods which are often used in recipes or for cooking our foods for meal time.

Here are a few easy tips that can assist in keeping those grams to a minimum:

When mashing potatoes, limit the use of heavy fats. Rather than using butter or regular margarine, opt for the reduced fat healthier varieties instead.

Substitute cream of whole milk for skim or low fat versions. In addition, limit the amount of salt added to the potatoes. High sodium diets have been connected to high blood pressure as well as to heart disease. Health studies indicate that individuals who limit sodium in their daily eating plan are healthier on the whole.

When pasta is the star of the meal, make it whole grain and use a red tomato based sauce rather than a white creamy one.

Allow your child to savor the flavor of the vegetable rather than loading it up with that big old yellow glob or drowning it in creamy sauces.

When it comes to fruit - avoid the temptation to pack it into a crust. Natural fruit goodness is difficult to beat when the specimen is super sweet.

Recommended Daily Servings: Picture of Children's Food Pyramid

Grain Group - 6 Servings

1 slice whole grain bread

1/2 cup cooked cereal such as Cream of Wheat or oatmeal

1/2 cup cooked rice or whole wheat pasta

1 ounce of whole grain dry cereal

Meat Group - 2 Servings

2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, including beef, poultry, pork & fish

1/2 cup of cooked beans or lentils

1 egg (is equal to 1 ounce of lean meat)

2 Tablespoons of peanut butter

Dairy Group - 2 Servings

1 cup of reduced fat milk

1 cup of low fat yogurt

2 ounces of reduced in fat REAL cheese (not cheese food)

Vegetable Group - 3 Servings

1/2 cup of chopped raw vegetables

1/2 cup of cooked veggies

1 cup of raw, leafy greens

Fruit Group - 2 Servings

1 piece of fresh fruit

1/4 cup of dried fruit

1/2 cup of canned

3/4 cup of fruit juice, unsweetened

Fats & Sweets Group

Minimize, but keep in mind that some fat in the diet is necessary for optimum health.

Our Chart is Based on Information from the USDA

Kids Food Pyramid by Diet Bites

In Summary

The best diet for a growing little one includes food selections from all of the healthy Food Groups housed within the Food Pyramid. Color is extremely important and interesting to kids, as is the texture of the foods on their meal plates and those served at snack times. Rather than serving white beans, mashed potatoes and cauliflower, mix up the colors and textures.

Kids also enjoy finger foods - whether raw or cooked. This is just one reason why cereal is so popular with the younger group. It's also convenient and is actually a wonderful snack when in whole grain form.


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Picture of Food Pyramid Maximum Daily Servings

Index-Activities & Calories Expended

Return to Pyramid Diet Index

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