Nutrition for KIDS The basic principles of good nutrition are the same for adults as they are for kids. We all need the same types of nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Children, however, need different amounts of specific nutrients at different stages of their growth. Encourage your child to make healthy food choices and be a role model for healthy eating and a lifestyle full of fitness, fun and good nutrition. Good nutrition starts with making smart choices Collapse Protein. Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds. Fruits. Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits — rather than fruit juice. If your child drinks juice, make sure it’s 100 percent juice without added sugars and limit his or her servings. Please note that dried fruit is calorie dense (one-quarter cup of dried fruit counts as one cup-equivalent of fruit). Vegetables. Serve a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried vegetables. Provide a variety of vegetables (dark green, red, yellow and orange). Grains. Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or rice (brown or wild). Dairy. Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages. (Reference: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) *Canned fruits and vegetables: canned fruits and vegetables can be convenient and inexpensive, but be mindful that the heat from the canning process will lower the vitamin C levels. In addition, canned foods often have additives such as salt, sugar or heavy syrup. If fresh fruit or vegetables is not an option, look for food packed in water and stay away from unnecessary additives. Nutrition dietary guidelines from the Mayo Clinic Expand Ages 4 to 8: Daily guidelines for girls Calories: 1,200 – 1,800 (depending on growth and activity level) Protein: 3 - 5 oz Fruits: 1 - 1.5 cups Vegetables: 1.5 - 2.5 cups Grains: 4 - 6 oz Dairy: 2.5 cups Ages 4 to 8: Daily guidelines for boys Calories: 1,200 – 2,000 (depending on growth and activity level) Protein: 3 - 5.5 oz Fruits: 1 - 2 cups Vegetables: 1.5 - 2.5 cups Grains: 4 - 6 oz Dairy: 2.5 cups Ages 9 to 13: Daily guidelines for girls Calories: 1,400 – 2,200 (depending on growth and activity level) Protein: 4 - 6 oz Fruits: 1.5 - 2 cups Vegetables: 1.5 - 3 cups Grains: 5 - 7 oz Dairy: 3 cups Ages 9 to 13: Daily guidelines for boys Calories: 1,600 – 2,600 (depending on growth and activity level) Protein: 5 - 6.5 oz Fruits: 1.5 - 2 cups Vegetables: 2 - 3.5 cups Grains: 5 - 9 oz Dairy: 3 cups Ages 14 to 18: Daily guidelines for girls Calories: 1,800 – 2,400 (depending on growth and activity level) Protein: 5 - 6.5 oz Fruits: 1.5 - 2 cups Vegetables: 2.5 - 3 cups Grains: 6 - 8 oz Dairy: 3 cups Ages 14 to 18: Daily guidelines for boys Calories: 2,000 – 3,200 (depending on growth and activity level) Protein: 5.5 - 7 oz Fruits: 2 - 2.5 cups Vegetables: 2.5 - 4 cups Grains: 6 - 10 oz Dairy: 3 cups Click here to download tips Kid friendly fruits and vegetable recipes Expand 10 tips that will make eating fruits and veggies fun. Smoothie creations Delicious dippers Caterpillar kabobs Personalized pizzas Fruity peanut butterfly Frosty fruits Bugs on a log Homemade trail mix Potato person Put kids in charge (Reference: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) Click here to download tips Healthy snacks under 100 calories Expand Get rid of most (if not all) of your calorie-rich high-fat and high-sugar foods from your household. Make it hard for you and your kids to find high calorie treats. Below are examples of healthy snacks that are 100 calories or less: Whole grain toast with fresh avocado Whole grain toast with almond or peanut butter Whole grain toast with two slices of deli turkey Whole grain crackers 5-12 (depending on the brand) Rice cake with almond or peanut butter Granola (3 tablespoons) Quinoa (1/3 cup) Popcorn plain air-popped (3 cups) Raw almonds (one handful) Hard boiled egg Low-fat yogurt (1/2 cup) with fresh fruit Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup) with fresh fruit Celery with almond or peanut butter Raw veggies with hummus Apple or banana Kiwi (medium size) x 2 Blueberries (1 cup) Grapes (1 cup) Vegetable soup low-fat (1 cup) Watermelon salad (1 cup spinach with 3/4 cup watermelon) Click here to download tips Childhood obesity is a serious health problem Expand (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem. The effects of this can last into adulthood. Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being reported among children who are overweight. Onset of diabetes in children can lead to heart disease and kidney failure. Children with obesity also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their normal weight peers. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, almost 60% of children who were overweight had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and 25% had two or more CVD risk factors. Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers. PLEASE NOTE: Children should NOT be placed on a weight reduction diet without the consultation of a health care provider.