A healthy child starts with a meal that comprises of foods from all food categories. However, the
food given to them should be in the right proportions. With the proper proportions, children get
energy and nutrients to grow and have a healthy body.
Your child is growing, so he needs at least three healthy meals a day. A healthy meal plan
includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few healthy snacks.
Generally, a 4-to 8-year-olds need between 1,200 and 1,800 calories per day to stay healthy. If
you’re not sure of their energy requirements, you can consult with your dietician. In most cases,
their energy requirements depend on the size and activity level of your child. Most playful kids
should aim for the higher range. And for those that need fewer calories should go for the lower-
Foods to Include
To ensure enough nutrient intake, each day in a week’s meal plan should consist of a balance of
1. Daily Plan
A child requires between 4and 10 ounces of grains a day. It’s advisable to obtain half of that
from whole grains.
- Veggies should be11c /2 cups every day but bigger kids may consume like 4 cups each
- You can offer 11/2 to 21/2 cups every day for dairy foods that support bone growth in
children. Remember, they are growing and developing.
- For proteins, scheduled between 3 and 7 ounces daily (preferably lean protein). Examples
of lean protein sources include fish and poultry.
2. Weekly Plan
On a weekly basis, you will want to schedule for:
- A ½ cup of peas and beans
- 3 ½ cups of starchy vegetables
- 1 cup of dark green vegetables
- 3 cups of orange and red vegetables
- 1 to 21/2 fruit cups per day suffice.
For breakfast you can serve these foods:
- Oatmeal with milk
- Eggs with diced bell pepper and orange juice (non-diluted)
- Whole-grain pancakes plus low-fat yogurt
- Hard-boiled eggs and a whole-wheat bagel
- A frozen fruit milk smoothie
Lunches and Snacks
- A whole-grain pita
- Peanut butter on wheat bread plus bananas
- Low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers
- Roast beef on whole grain bread
- A handful of grape tomatoes
- Low-fat yogurt
- Unsalted almonds
- Serve water-skip juice!
- Grilled chicken served with a baked potato plus mild salsa
- Pizza made with whole-wheat crust plus veggies and low-fat cheese
- Spaghetti with steamed broccoli
- Wrapped lean steak in a whole-wheat tortilla and baked chips
- Beef burgers served in a whole-grain bun, served alongside vegetables.
The above meal plan provides a balance among all food groups. With these, kids’ cries for junky
snacks and fast food will cease. Your kids will get the required amount of calories and will grow
healthy every day.
The kids too can help craft a small shopping list that you can use once you pay a visit to the food
stores. And importantly, don’t be tempted to deviate from your plan for the love of chips or