Content provided by: Tiffani Ghere, Clinical Pediatric Dietitian


We all want our children to grow up healthy and strong. A primary way of achieving this goal is to provide them with just the right foods at the proper stages in their development. When parents recognize the developmentally appropriate way to offer foods, in the right portions, they can make great strides in creating a "good eater"- one who likes a wide variety of foods and whose adventurous spirit means a willingness to try new things. This is a child who learns to be "in tune" with the demands of his body, who can recognize cues of feeling "hungry" or "full". This simple process - offering children the right foods at the right time - begins the creation of habits that will benefit him for the rest of his life.

So just what does your child need, when? And how much? Our recommendations, broken down by age, are on the following pages, but portions change as children grow. For your reference, we've included a convenient chart that illustrates food by portion and serving sizes below.

RECOMMENDED DAILY NEEDS BY AGE GROUP
FOOD               GRADES K-3         GRADES 4-8       GRADES 8 AND UP          
Protein               3-4 ounces            5 ounces              5.5 ounces
Vegetables         1.5 cups                2-2.5 cups           2.5 cups
Grains                4-5 ounces            5-6 ounces          6 ounces
Dairy                  2 cups                   3 cups                  3 cups
Fruit                   1. 5 cups               1.5 cups               2 cups            
Oil                      4 teaspoons          5 teaspoons         6 teaspoons

PORTION SIZE ESTIMATES FOR ADULTS AND TEENS
1 cup cooked grain or pasta  =  1 tennis ball
1.5oz hard cheese  =  4 dice
3oz meat  =  1 deck of cards
3oz fish fillet  =  1 checkbook
1 tsp butter  =  1 die
1oz of nuts  =  (1) 2oz dixie cup
1 cup raw leafy vegetables  =  1 baseball
1/2 cup vegetables (peas, carrots, etc)  =  1 light bulb
1 medium potato  =  1 computer mouse
2 tbsp peanut butter  =  1 golf ball
1 medium bagel  =  1 hockey puck
1 cup dry cereal  =  1 fist
1 pancake  =  1 CD