To help them grow up properly, develop strong bones and muscles, and perform well at school, it’s important that kids get the nutrients they need from food.
Eating a wide variety of foods from the five food groups is key. Even if you have a fussy eater, the tips in this booklet are sure to get them eating well!
The amount of food needed varies from child to child (and day to day), but we’ve tried to make it easy for you by breaking it up into different age groups. The serving recommendations below are for one day, so you can get an idea of what kids should be eating over the course of a whole day (ie. at home and at school). We haven’t included treat foods here, but try to keep these to a minimum (no more than one per day).
You’ll notice that there is a big scale for the number of servings of breads and cereals per day. If your kids are very active (ie. playing lots of sport), they will need to eat the higher amount of breads and cereals – if they are less active, they need to eat fewer serves from that category.
Examples of one serve
Breads and cereals (preferably whole grains)
2 slices bread; 1 cup cereal or cooked porridge; ½ cup untoasted muesli; 1 medium bread roll; 1 cup cooked rice, pasta or noodles; 6–8 crispbreads
Vegetables and legumes
1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw vegies; 1/2 cup legumes
1 medium piece or 2 small pieces fresh fruit; 1 cup canned fruit; 1 cup berries; 1 1/2 tablespoons sultanas; 4 dried apricot halves; 125ml juice (but only occasionally)
Reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese (including soy that is calcium-fortified)
1 cup (250ml) milk or custard; 200g yoghurt; 2 slices (40g) cheese
Lean meat and meat alternatives
1–1 1/2 serves
65–100g cooked meat; 2 small chops (fat trimmed), 1/2 cup mince; 80–120g cooked fish; 2 small eggs; 1/2 cup legumes
Based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating for Children and Adolescents (currently under review and due for release in 2012); Fun Not Fuss With Food: How Much is Enough (QLD Health); Go for 2 & 5; GoGrains; Dairy Australia.