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Nutrition for Children

Nutrition Information for Children (Ages 1 to 5)

What does a serving size look like for children?

Fruit

Fruit Types

Select one of the types below to see it’s serving size.

Fresh Fruits

1 small fruit equaling 2 ½ inches in diameter, or about the size of a baseball.

Baseball, used for reference of portion size

Dried Fruits

¼ cup, or about the size of a golf ball.

Golf ball, similar in size to a quarter cup portion size

Vegetables

Vegetable Types

Select one of the types below to see it’s serving size.

Baked Potato

1 medium potato, or about the size of a computer mouse.

Computer mouse, similar in size to a medium potato

Chopped Vegetables or Salad

1 cup, or about the size of a baseball.

Baseball, used for reference of portion size

Mashed Vegetables

½ cup, or about the size of a computer mouse.

Computer mouse, similar in size to a medium potato

Grains

Grain Types

Select one of the types below to see it’s serving size.

Bread

1 oz., or about the size of a CD cover.

CD cover, about one ounce

Chopped Vegetables or Salad

1 cup, or about the size of a baseball.

Baseball, used for reference of portion size

Cooked Cereal

½ cup, or about the size of a computer mouse.

Computer mouse, similar in size to a medium potato

Bagel or Hamburger Bun

1 oz., or about the size of a hockey puck.

Hockey puck, about 1 ounce

Dairy

Dairy Types

Select one of the types below to see it’s serving size.

Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt

1 cup, or about the size of a baseball.

Baseball, used for reference of portion size

Cheese

2 oz., or about the weight of a 9-volt battery.

9 volt battery, about 2 ounces

Ice Cream

½ cup, or about the size of a computer mouse.

Computer mouse, similar in size to a medium potato

Protein

Protein Types

Select one of the types below to see it’s serving size.

Lean Beef or Poultry

3 oz., or about the size of a deck of cards.

Deck of cards, about 3 ounces

Fish, Grilled or Baked

3 oz., or about the size of a deck of cards.

Deck of cards, about 3 ounces

Peanut Butter

2 tablespoons, or about the size of a ping pong ball.

Ping pong ball, about 3 ounces

Oils

Oils Types

Select one of the types below to see it’s serving size.

Margarine or Butter

1 teaspoon, or about the size of a water bottle cap.

Water bottle cap, about 1 teaspoon

Oil or Salad Dressing

1 teaspoon, or about the size of a water bottle cap.

Water bottle cap, about 1 teaspoon

Now let’s see how much your child needs!

Remember that eating a variety of foods is just as important as getting the right amount of healthy foods.

Fruit

Age Groups

Select one of the groups below to see it’s serving size.

1 - 2 Years Old

1 serving / day

Apple

2 - 5 Years Old

1 – 2 servings / day

Apple, orange and grapes

Vegetables

Age Groups

Select one of the groups below to see it’s serving size.

1 - 2 Years Old

1 – 2 servings / day

Small bowl of broccoli and small salad

2 - 5 Years Old

2 – 3 servings / day

Broccoli, salad and summer squash

Grains

Age Groups

Select one of the groups below to see it’s serving size.

1 - 2 Years Old

2 – 3 servings / day

Bowl of cereal, bowl of pasta and slice of bread

2 - 5 Years Old

3 – 5 servings / day

Bowl of cereal, bowl of pasta and two slices of bread

Protein

Age Groups

Select one of the groups below to see it’s serving size.

1 - 2 Years Old

1 serving / day

Small pieces of chicken

2 - 5 Years Old

1 – 2 servings / day

Small pieces of chicken and baked fish

Dairy

Age Groups

Select one of the groups below to see it’s serving size.

1 - 2 Years Old

2 servings / day

Small wheel of cheese and glass of milk

2 - 5 Years Old

2 servings a day

Small wheel of cheese and glass of milk

Tips for Picky Eaters

Hey, do any of these statements sound like your child?

‘Ethan use to eat my vegetable soup, now he pushes it away.’
‘Mary won’t eat beef or any texture resembling meat.’
‘If it’s green, my kid won’t eat it.’

Always remember that no matter how stressed your child’s eating behavior makes you, picky eating is very common in children between the ages of 2 to 5 years old. If your child is growing normally, you shouldn’t worry. If you think your child’s eating behavior is resulting in weight loss, make an appointment with their Doctor.

What are some characteristics of picky eating?

First, picky eating is very common, so you are not alone! Picky eating is usually treated as a temporary issue that resolves before school age. If you’re a parent, this probably doesn’t put you at ease because dinner time with a picky eater can feel very stressful.

Try some the following tips to see if any of them are right for you and your child:

More Choices

Kids love choices because kids seek to control their environment. Instead of asking ‘Do you want asparagus today?’ ask ‘Which do you prefer for dinner, Asparagus or Broccoli?’

Little Grocery Store Helpers

When it comes to dinner, the process starts at the grocery store. Let your kids help you pick fruits and vegetables and be sure to communicate what they are picking will be a part of dinner, so they should try it.

Time to Cook

Depending on your child’s age, you can find jobs for them to do when cooking. Some kids will be more willing to try a food that they helped cook, especially if you call the dish a personalized name like, ‘Tyler’s Pasta Dish.’ Adding foods to the pot, stirring, or washing the vegetables are all good ways to get your child active with you in the kitchen. Just make sure to supervise at all times. 

Make Dinner Time Fun

When trying to introduce a new food, some families will bring out that food before the main dish, kind of like an appetizer. Kids will be more willing to try a new food when they are a little hungrier. Having each person at the table take turns trying the food can help because kids love being apart of the action. Adults, feel free to be silly when you try your food. If it’s broccoli pretend like you’re a dinosaur eating a tree. It will be hard for a kid not to have fun with that.

Story Time with Food

Teach your kids about foods from around the world at Storytime.  Finding books about food, is a good way to have your child become more familiar with new foods. For older kids, 4-5 year olds, learning about food-based professions, like a chef or a farmer, can be helpful as well.

Imagination: The Magic Wand

Try using your ‘Magic Wand’ to rename foods. Children may not like carrots and bananas, but they will probably try ‘Rocket Carrots’ or ‘Monkey Fuel.’

Grouping and Counting with Food

Put together a bowl of different color fruits and vegetables, and have your child count them and group them by color. This is especially helpful for those foods you have just given up on.  Don’t pressure your child to try those foods, the goal is to form positive experiences and it could take some time before they feel comfortable trying the foods.

One at a Time

Ok, one of the tips above worked and you had a dinner time breakthrough! The instinct would be to offer more and more new foods. But, it’s a marathon and not a race. Try to only introduce one new food per meal.