A balanced diet is essential for children and adolescents, to encourage healthy growth and development. Here are guidelines for creating a healthy childhood diet:
Watch portion sizes.
The recommended daily amounts of healthy foods for children are:
Lean Protein (fish, chicken): 2 ounces every day for children between 2 and 3 years old, 3-4 ounces for children 4 to 8 years old, and 5-6 ounces for children 9 to 18 years old
Low-Fat Dairy: 2 cups for children under 8, and 3 cups for children 9 to 18
Fruit: 1.5 cups
Vegetables: 2.5 cups
Whole Grains: 6 ounces
Limit fast food.
If you do eat out, make healthy choices (a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a bacon cheeseburger, for example) and keep portion sizes reasonable.
Avoid sugary drinks.
Instead, serve water and low-fat milk.
Go for 100%.
Limit juice to less than 6 ounces per day and make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice.
Choose whole grains.
Brown rice, instead of refined grains such as white rice, adds nutrients and fiber.