Balanced Diet Chart for Children

A balanced diet is essential for children of all ages. Parents must ensure that children eat meals consisting of all food groups to ensure healthy children. Therefore, some balanced diet charts for children are listed here.

A balanced diet consists of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals and also meets the daily caloric needs of the body. This means, 50% of your calorie needs should be derived from carbohydrates, 20% from protein and 30% from fats. Children should be provided daily, with a diet consisting of all the above mentioned vitamins and minerals. This chart indicates what percentage from each food group you should be providing to the children.

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Table 1 - Nutrition Needs for Children

Table 1 provides a summary of the food chart for a clearer idea of nutrition for children.

Nutrition

Food Group

Recommended %

Carbohydrates

Cereals and grains, etc.

33%

Vitamins and Minerals

Various fruits and vegetables

33%

Meat Protein

Fish, meat and eggs

12%

Milk Proteins

Dairy products

15%

Fat and Sugar

Fatty foods, sugary sweets etc.

7%

Table 2 - Food Examples for Children

Table 2 displays some foods examples with appropriate serving size and amount of serving per day. Parents can choose one food or two with smaller potion from each food category for their children.

Food Group

Foods Example

Serving Size

Daily Serve

Grains

Rice

Pasta

Cereal

Bread

Rolls

Wheat Biscuit

Noodles

1 cup

1/2 -1 cup

1/2 -1 cup

1-2 slices

1/2 -1 roll

1

1/2 cup

Age 2-5 years, 4 servings

For school children, 5-9 servings

Vegetables

Cooked vegies

Cauliflower

Medium potato

Carrot (sliced)

Spinach

Broccoli

Tomato

Salad

Half a cup cooked vegetables or one cup raw, leafy vegetables.

Age 2-3, 2 servings

Age 4-7, 2-4 servings

Age 8-11, 3-5 servings

Age 12-18, 4-9 servings

Fruits

Dates

Berries

Apricots

Grapes

Bananas

Peaches

Oranges

Mangoes

Melons

Pineapples

Half a cup frozen for raw fruits, or 6 ounce fruit juice, or1/4 cup dried fruits

Age 2-3, 2 servings

Age 4-7, 1-2 servings

Age 8-11, 1-2 servings

Age 12-18, 3-4 servings

Dairy Products

Milk

Yogurt

Cheese

Custard

250ml

200g

40g

250ml

Age 2-3, 1 serving

Age 4-7, 2-3 serving

Age 8-11, 2-3 2/2 servings

Age 12-18, 3-5 servings

Lean Proteins

Meat

Beef

Chicken

Fish

Eggs

Dried beans

Peas

Lentils

Peanut butter

100 g (2 slices), cooked

3/4 cup, chopped

1 chicken leg

1 medium fillet

1

3/4 cup canned or cooked beans, lentils or peas

 

1 tablespoon

Age 2-3, 1/2 serving

Age 4-7, 1/2-1 serving

Age 8-11, 1-1 2/2 servings

Age 12-18, 1-2 servings

Fats, Sweets and Oils

Low-fat mayonnaise

Light salad dressing

Soft margarine

Vegetable oil (canola, safflower, olive or corn)

1 tablespoon oil or mayonnaise

1 serving

Table 3 - Meal Plan for Children

Table 3 gives examples of meal plan with proper meal time and menu for children.

Time

Meal

Menu

7:30

Breakfast

Medium bowl of semi-skimmed milk with wholegrain cereal

A glass of fresh orange juice

A banana

9:30

Morning Break

A small box of raisins

A bottle of unsweetened fruit smoothie

12:30

Lunch

Cheese, salad, jacket potato

An apple

A bottle of water

16:30

After School Snack

A grass of semi-skimmed milk

A small packet of low-fat crisps

19:30

Dinner

Salad

Whole wheat pasta

Spaghetti Bolognese (without oil, more vegetable, less meat)

A glass of juice (with canned fruit and one scoop ice cream)

21:30

Evening Snack

A slice toast (wholemeal) with peanut butter

Table 4 - Amount of Fluids for Children

Water plays a vital role in almost every tissue and process in human body, involving eliminating wastes and maintaining proper body temperature. Children should drink fluids, any kind, as a daily need. The amount of fluids a child needs is based on the weather and the level of activity. Generally, the amount of fluids a child should drink is shown below:

Age

Water (serves)

4-8

1-1.2L (approx. 5 glasses)

9-13

1.4-1.6L (approx. 5 to 6 glasses)

14 and More

1.6-2L (approx.5 to8 glasses)

*A glass is 250mL

Balanced Nutrition for Children

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The nutrition shown below is essential for the healthy growth of a child, include:

  • Carbohydrates. Children require the right amounts of carbs for energy. Therefore, their daily intake of carbohydrates can be derived from wholegrain foods, such as, pasta, bread and cereals.
  • Proteins. Meat, eggs and fish and dairy products are high in protein, and, therefore, ideal and necessary for your child's diet. Protein is essential for muscle building and repair and growth and building antibodies.
  • Calcium. Calcium is essential for strong bones. Dairy products like cheese or yogurt, vegetables like collard greens, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli and celery are rich in calcium. If a child doesn’t consume enough calcium, it can lead to osteoporosis later his life.
  • Vitamins. A child needs vitamins for the body to function properly. They help boost the immune system, support growth and development and help cells and organs function properly. Vitamin A is essential for vision and a deficiency can lead to blindness. Vitamin C, a definite immune system booster, helps with brain function and prevents problems that occur with free radicals. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption.
  • Other Nutrition. Apart from carbohydrates, protein, calcium and vitamins, your child requires the proper amounts of iron, Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and amino acids to ensure good health.

Many children have poor eating habits, which can lead to various long-term health complications, such as obesity, heart disease, type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis. Ensuring that your child learns the importance of eating a balanced diet, means ensuring he or she is free of these diseases and grows up to be a healthy adult.


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