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How Much Should my Child Eat?

By Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

How much should you eat to stay healthy? It's a tricky question. It depends on your age, gender, and how active you are. Kids who are more active burn more calories, so they need more calories. Here are some estimates.

Breads/Cereals/Starches

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

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

Try to make at least half of your grain servings come from whole grain sources, such as 100 percent whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal.

Vegetables

* 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.

Try to include one source of vitamin A every other day from vegetables dark green and yellow/orange in color.

Fruits

* 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.

Limit juice to one serving a day.  Try to include one source of vitamin C daily (citrus fruits, juices, melons or strawberries)

Milk and Other Calcium-Rich Foods

1 cup equivalent = 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 ½ ounce cheese, 2 ounce processed cheese

* 4 to 8-year-olds need 2 cups of milk each day.
* 9 to 13-year-olds need 3 cups of milk each day.

 

Meats, Beans, Fish, and Nuts

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 ounces each day.
* 9 to 13-year-olds need 5 ounces each day.

Adapted from the Food Guide Pyramid for kids.  www.kidshealth.org.

 

 

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By Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian
Categories:  Kid's Health & Safety

About the Author

Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

Tiffany Glenn, M.S., R.D.,L.D. Registered Dietitian

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