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How much should my child eat to stay healthy?
By on March 28th, 2011

Kids who are more active burn more calories, so they need more calories. Here are some daily estimates from each food group.

Grains

Grains are measured out in ounce equivalents. What are they? Ounce equivalents are just another way of showing a serving size.

Here are ounce equivalents for common grain foods. An ounce equivalent equal?

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ cup of cooked cereal, like oatmeal
  • ½ cup of rice or pasta
  • 1 cup of cold cereal

* 4- to 8-year-olds need 4-5 ounce equivalents each day.
* 9- to 13-year-old girls need 5 ounce equivalents each day.
* 9- to 13-year-old boys need 6 ounce equivalents each day.

And one last thing about grains: Try make at least half of your grain servings whole grains, such as 100% whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal.

Vegetables

Of course, you need your vegetables, especially those dark green and orange ones. But how much is enough? Vegetable servings are measured in cups.

* 4- to 8-year-olds need 1½ cups of veggies each day.
* 9- to 13-year-old girls need 2 cups of veggies each day.
* 9- to 13-year-old boys need 2½ cups of veggies each day.

Fruits

Sweet, juicy fruit is definitely part of a healthy diet. Here’s how much you need:

* 4- to 8-year-olds need 1-1½ cups of fruit each day.
* 9- to 13-year-olds need 1½ cups of fruit each day.

Milk and Other Calcium-Rich Foods

Calcium builds strong bones to last a lifetime, so you need these foods in your diet.

* 4- to 8-year-olds need 2 cups of milk (or another calcium-rich food) each day.
* 9- to 13-year-olds need 3 cups of milk (or another calcium-rich food) each day.

If you want something other than milk, you can substitute yogurt, cheese, or calcium-fortified orange juice — just to name a few.

Meats, Beans, Fish, and Nuts

These foods contain iron and lots of other important nutrients. Like grains, these foods are measured in ounce equivalents.

An ounce equivalent of this group would be:

  • 1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish
  • ¼ cup cooked dry beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • ½ ounce (about a small handful) of nuts or seeds

* 4- to 8-year-olds need 3-4 ounce equivalents each day.
* 9- to 13-year-olds need 5 ounce equivalents each day.

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/pyramid.html#

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

Date reviewed: January 2009

 

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