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Nutrition Tips for Children 5 and Under
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  • Comprehensive nutritional care to newborns through young adults
  • Meal plans to improve or maintain the health of children who require special diets
  • Nutritional counseling and support for parents
  • Suggested portion sizes for children ages 1 to 5 years
  • Sample Menus
  • Hints for feeding the preschool child
  • Hints for feeding picky eaters

Nutrition Guide: Suggested Portion Sizes for Children Ages 1 to 5 Years

Food Group  1 to 3 Years   4 to 5 Years Recommended Daily Servings 
Grain Group (Choose Whole Grains When Possible)                                  
 ≥ 6 Servings
Bread
Buns, bagels, muffins
Crackers
Dry cereal
Cooked cereal
Rice, pasta
1/4-1/2 slice
1/4-1/2
2-3
1/3-1/2 cup
1/4-1/2 cup
1/4-1/3 cup
1 slice
1/2
4-6
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
 Bread,Pasta Rice

              
Fruit/ Vegetable Group                                                                                          
≥ 5 Servings
VITAMIN C SOURCES (Citrus, Tomato, Berries, Peppers)                                
≥ 1 Servings
Whole
Cooked, canned, or chopped raw*
Juice
1/2 small
1/4-1/3 cup

1/4-1/3 cup
1/2-1 small
1/4-1/2 cup

1/2 cup
 Fruit and Vegetable
                   

VITAMIN A SOURCES (Carrots, Broccoli, Sweet Potato, Cantaloupe, Choose: Orange, Yellow or Green Colors)

≥ 1 Servings
Cooked, canned, or chopped raw 1/4 cup 1/4-1/2 cup        Carrots and Broccoli                  
Other Fruits/Vegetables
≥ 3 Servings
Whole
Cooked, canned or chopped raw*
Juice
1/4-1/2 piece
1/4 cup

1/4-1/3 cup
1/2-1 piece
1/4-1/2 cup

1/2 cup
 
      Mix Fruits and Vegetables
Milk Group  4-6 Servings
Milk, yogurt 
Cheese
1/2 cup 
1/2 oz
1/2 cup 
1 oz
      Milk Yogurt and Cheese              
Protein Group
 2 Servings
Lean meat, chicken, fish 

Beans, peas, nuts and nut butter**
Egg
1-3 tbsp,
1-2 oz 
2-4 tbsp 

1
2-2 1/2 oz 

4-5 tbsp 

1
 Protein
Fat Group (Depends On Calorie Needs)   3-4 Servings
Margarine, butter, oils  1 tsp 1 tbsp                 butter
*See choking hazards on next page.
** Caution with children less than 3 years old, especially if high risk for food allergies.

 Sample Menu for the 1 to 3 Year Old Child
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Whole milk* - (1/2 cup)
Oatmeal - (1/2 cup)
Strawberries - (1/2cup)
Whole milk* - (1/2 cup) 
Cooked carrots - (2 tbsp)
Banana - (1/2) 
Sandwich - (1/2 oz ham, 1/2 oz cheese)
Cooked green beans - (2 tbsp)
Whole milk* - (1/2 cup)
Chicken - (1 1/2 oz)
Whole grain dinner roll (1)
Margarine** - (1/2 tsp)
1 slice whole grain bread)
Mashed potatoes - (2 tbsp)
Gravy - (2 tbsp)
Midmorning Snack Midafternoon Snack Evening Snack
Vanilla Wafers - (2) 
Orange Juice - (1/3 Cup)
Fruit Yogurt - (1/2 Cup) 
Oatmeal Cookie - (1)
Water
Applesauce - (1/4 Cup)
Graham Crackers - (2)
Whole Milk* - (1/2 Cup)
*Whole Milk Is Recommended for Children Up to 2 Years of Age
**Avoid margarine containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

 Sample Menu for the 4 To 5 Year Old Child
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
1% Milk - (1/2 Cup)
Oatmeal - (1/2 Cup)
Strawberries - (1/2 Cup)
1% Milk - (1/2 Cup)
Carrots Sticks - (1/2 Cup)
Banana - (Small)
Sandwich - (3/4 oz Ham, 1 Slice Cheese,
2 Slices Whole Grain Bread)
1% Milk - (1/2 Cup) 
Chicken - (2 oz) 
Whole Grain Dinner Roll - (1) 
Margarine** - (1/2 Tsp)
Cooked Green Beans - (4 Tbsp)
Mashed Potatoes (4 Tbsp)
Gravy - (3 Tbsp)
Midmorning Snack Midafternoon Snack  Evening Snack
Vanilla Wafers - (3)
Orange Juice - (1/3 Cup)
Fruit Yogurt - (3/4 Cup) 
Oatmeal Cookie - (1) 
Water
Applesauce - (1/2 Cup)
Whole-Wheat Crackers - (5)
Reduced-Fat Milk - (1/2 Cup)
**Avoid margarine containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

Hints for Feeding the Preschool Child 
◀ variety of colors, textures, and shapesProvide foods with a variety of colors, textures, and shapes.picky eaters- serve warm food
Serve food warm rather than hot. ▶
favorite and new foods Provide a mix of favorite foods and new foods.

◀ Serve the child the same food the family is eating.






toffee
Limit sweet, sticky foods that remain in the mouth for a long time. ▶
oranges

◀ Eat fruit rather than drink it.

 
Foods That May Cause Choking   choking foods
  • Corn
  • Grapes
  • Gum Drops
  • Hard Candy
  • Hot Dogs
  • Jelly Beans
  • Meat Chunks
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins
  • Raw Apples
  • Raw Vegetables
  • Sausages Links


 Helpful Hints for Young Picky Eaters


picky eatersDoes mealtime sometimes turn into a battle of wills with your young one?
Children’s Clinical Nutritionists have some suggestions to help make mealtime healthy for the body and the spirit.

When this happens...

Here are the consequences:

Instead, try to...

 
A child refuses to eat new or previously refused foods. Forcing food acceptance or intake can make the child even more resistant. Offer new and previously refused foods, and let the child approach them (and maybe even eat them) gradually.
You only prepare his/her favorite or accepted foods. This discourages a variety of foods. Prepare foods that the family eats. Have at least one food item that the child likes in case he doesn’t eat much of the other foods on offer.
You fight with your child about food rejection. This makes the child uncomfortable at mealtimes and less prone to enjoy food or try new foods. Keep mealtimes calm and pleasant. Avoid distractions (like television). Sit at the table and eat with your child. Keep the conversation positive, and try to relax about your child’s eating.
Your child is constantly nibbling, snacking, or drinking beverages (milk, juice, sweet drinks) between scheduled meals and snacks. Even a cracker or a few sips of juice or milk can spoil a child’s appetite for meals and snacks. Set a schedule for meals and snacks. Young children can be fed every 2 to 4 hours. Allow only water between scheduled eating times so that your child is hungry the next time he sits down to eat.
A child is spoon-fed even though he/she is able to feed himself. The child may be resistant and refuse foods. Allow self-feeding with fingers and small, safe utensils. Young children crave independence and will enjoy eating more if they can feed themselves.
Food exploration is discouraged, particularly of new foods. The child is less likely to accept new foods. Encourage exploration of new foods. Children learn by using all of their senses and like to touch, smell, and even play with food to learn about it. Children will often want to do this before deciding if new foods are OK to go into their mouths.
A child is bribed or rewarded with special foods, candy, or desserts.  If you use sweets as rewards for finishing a meal or eating vegetables, for instance, your child learns that some foods are better than others “Vegetables must be really bad if I need a reward for eating them.” Treat all foods as equal as much as possible. Allow your child to dictate when she has had enough to eat. If the rest of the family eats dessert, offer it to your child as well, regardless of how much he ate.
A child is isolated at meal and snack times because he is disruptive or messy, or because he eats poorly. The child will not learn by example. Eat with your child, and encourage family meals. If your child is to have good manners at eating time, he needs to see other people having good manners. If you want your child to eat foods that the family likes, allow him to see the family eating those foods as well. At this age, children learn by example. Also, they are unable to manipulate eating utensils well; thus, food naturally gets spilled. Messes are unavoidable.
You become impatient with your child’s strong preferences about how food is served and presented. A small child does not understand that a cheese sandwich cut in squares is the same as one cut in triangles. Learn your child’s preferences or, if your child can communicate, ask for her input. Expect her preferences to change from time to time, or even from day to day. This is normal behavior, and your child will eventually outgrow it.

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Nutrition Tips for Children Age 5 and Under