Kids Nutrition

Nutritional requirements

Daily Guidelines
2 to 3
4 to 8
9 to 13
Girls & boys
Girls & boys
900 cal
1000 to 1400cal
1200 -1400cal
1200 -2000cal
1400- 2200cal
1600 - 2600cal
Lean meats/beans
1.5 oz.
2-4 oz.
3-5 oz.
3.5-5 oz.
4-6 oz.
5-6.5 oz.
1-1.5 cups
1-1.5 cups
1-2 cups
1.5-2 cups
1.5-2 cups
3/4 cups
1-1.5 cups
1.5 -2 cups
1.5 -2.5 cups
1.5-3 cups
2-3.5 cups
2 oz.
3-5 oz.
4-6 oz.
4-6 oz.
5-7 oz.
5-9 oz.
2 cups
2-2.5 cups
2.5 -3 cups
2.5 -3 cups
2.5 -3 cups
3 cups

* Calories' ranges depend on growth and activity level

  • Calorie estimates are based on a sedentary lifestyle. Increased physical activity will require additional calories: by 0-200 kcal/d if moderately physically active; and by 200–400 kcal/d if very physically active
  • Milk listed is fat -free (except for children under the age of 2 years).
  • For 1-year-old children, calculations are based on 2% fat milk. If 2 cups of whole milk are substituted, 48 kilocalories of discretionary calories will be utilized. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that low fat or reduced fat milk not be started before 2 years of age.
  • A variety of vegetables should be selected from each subgroup over the week.
  • Half of all grains should be whole
Dietary guidelines for toddlers and young children
Fruits and vegetables
2 servings of each per day. These may be given as snacks, such as apple or carrot slices. Veggies can be added to soups or main platters.
Whole grains
4 servings per day. Can include wholegrain cereals or multigrain toast for breakfast, brown rice or another whole grain or legumes for lunch and a sandwich on wheat bread as part of dinner.
Milk and dairy
3 servings per day. Milk, Cheese, yogurt, and milk puddings are good option.
2 servings per day. Encourage your child to try a variety of proteins, such as turkey, eggs, fish, chicken, lamb, baked beans, and lentils.
Vitamins and minerals
Check with your child's doctor to be certain their diet is adequately meeting the recommended nutritional needs for this age group
Dietary guidelines for school age children
3-5 servings per day. A serving might be one cup of raw leafy vegetables, 3/4 cup of vegetable juice, or 1/2 cup of other vegetables, raw or cooked.
2-4 servings per day. A serving may consist of 1/2 cup of sliced fruit, ½ cup of fruit juice, or a medium-size whole fruit, such as an apple, banana or pear.
Whole Grains
6-11 servings per day. Each serving should equal one slice of bread, 1/2 cup of rice or 1 ounce of cereal.
2-3 servings of 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish per day. A serving in this group may also consist of 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, one egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for each ounce of lean meat.
Dairy products
2-3 servings (cups) per day of low-fat milk or yogurt, or natural cheese (1.5 ounces=one serving).
Studies indicate that zinc may improve memory and school performance, especially in boys. Good sources of zinc are oysters, beef, pork, liver, dried beans and peas, whole grains, fortified cereals, nuts, milk, cocoa, and poultry.