Kids Food Pyramid Guide: Healthy Eating Guide for Your Children
It can be difficult to get your children to establish healthy eating habits, especially if your children are picky eaters, which is why a food pyramid guide for kids is so essential - not only to help you become more educated about the nutrition your child needs, but also for ensuring she establishes healthy eating habits early on.
Nutrition Facts: The Food Pyramid
Introduced by the federal government in spring of 2005, the Food Pyramid for children is an essential tool to healthy eating for children.
Based on the four food groups, the food guide pyramid for kids stresses above all variety and nutrition. Children, from toddlers to pre-adolescents, are encouraged to have a variety of foods from each color group per day and to eat more of certain healthy foods and less of others. How much of these foods children should eat is regulated by their age, sex and activity level.
The food groups included in the kids food pyramid guide are grouped by color:
- ORANGE: Grains Parents should make sure that half of their children's intake of grains comes from whole grain sources, such as whole wheat pasta and rice. Four to eight year olds require 4-5 ounces (which is the equivalent of a serving) of grains a day; girls 9 to 13 years of age require 5 ounces of grains daily while boys the same age require 6 ounces a day. Grains are important to a healthy diet because they are made up of carbohydrates, which give children energy
- GREEN: Vegetables Children should eat a variety of vegetables like peas, legumes and broccoli, as vegetables are great sources of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, and fiber, which aids digestion. Children 4 to 8 years old should have 1 to 1 and ½ cups of vegetables daily, while girls ages 9 to 13 should have 2 cups of vegetables daily. It is recommended that boys from 9 to 13 years old have 2 and ½ cups of vegetables per day
- RED: Fruits Fruits should be central to any child's diet, as they are an excellent source of nutrition and vitamins, like vitamin A, which helps build healthy eyes and skin. Fruits like blueberries, oranges and apples are especially great for children's health. Children four to eight years old should have 1 to 1 and ½ cups of fruit daily, while boys and girls 9 to 13 years of age should have 1 and ½ cups of fruit servings a day
- BLUE: Milk An excellent source of calcium (which helps build strong bones and teeth), milk and milk products like yogurt, low-fat cheese and calcium-fortified orange juice are essential components to healthy eating for children. Children 4 to 8 years old should have 1 to 2 servings of milk a day, while girls and boys from 9 to 13 years old should have 3 servings of dairy products daily
- PURPLE: Meat Meat is an excellent source of iron, which provides children with energy. Opt for leaner choices for your child's diet like skinless chicken and turkey. Four to eight year olds should have 3 to 4 ounces of meat daily, while 9 to 13 year old girls and boys should have five ounces of meat daily
While not an actual food group, oils are another component to healthy eating for children. Although oils contain fat, small amounts are essential for proper development; good sources of healthy oils are fish, nuts, canola oil and corn oil.
The food pyramid for kids also stresses the importance of regular exercise for children; so try enrolling them in swimming classes or going bike riding together. Also, limit your children's intake of fat and sugars in order to ensure that your children are on the road to a lifetime of good health.