The Five Food Groups for Children
what do children need, and how much?
Children need to eat a wide variety of foods to get the nutrients essential to their health. A good rule of thumb is to make sure every meal contains at least three of the five food groups, and every snack contains at least two groups. Knowing your way around the five groups is a great way to be sure you’re making the most of every meal and snack.
The Five Food Groups: Recommended Daily Servings for Children1
1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal = 1 ounce
1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens = 1 cup
1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit = 1 cup
1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese = 1 cup
1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish, 1/4 cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds = 1 ounce
*For fruits and vegetables, serving sizes are 1/3 cup for 2 to 3 years of age and 1/2 cup for 4 years of age.
1Nicklas TA, Hayes D, for the American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: nutrition guidance for healthy children ages 2 to 11 years. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:1038-1047.
2US Department of Health & Human Services. The report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health & Human Services.