Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Nutrition

Pediatric Healthy Eating: Nutrition for Ages 1-6 (194)

Pediatric Healthy Eating: Nutrition for Ages 1-6 (194) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Nutrition


Nutrition for Ages 1-6

Once children are one year old they grow
more slowly and need less food. They may
eat well at one meal, then very little at the
next. They may decide to eat only 3 foods
one week then other foods the next! Don’t
worry, they listen to their bodies and will
usually eat enough to grow and stay healthy.

Safety First: The American Academy of
Pediatrics has made guidelines to help
prevent choking. These include:
ξ Never allow a child to run, walk, or
lie down with food in the mouth.
They should eat at a table or at least
sit down.
ξ Do not feed children less than 4
years old round or firm food unless
the entire item has been chopped up.
ξ Foods that children are most likely to
choke on are: hot dogs, whole nuts,
seeds, whole grapes, candy (hard,
gooey, or sticky candy), popcorn,
chunks of peanut butter, chunks of
firm fruit such as apple, and chewing

Tips for Feeding the Toddler and
ξ Make meal time pleasant and
enjoyable. Reduce distractions such
as TV, computer, or pets. Eat
ξ Children like routine. Have 3 meals
and 2 or 3 snacks at about the same
time every day.
ξ Present healthy foods for meals and
snacks. Children can choose what
and how much to eat from the meal
you offer.
ξ If your child doesn’t eat, or eats the
same thing for a few days, it is OK.
They will eat at the next meal or
snack. Never force your child to eat.
ξ Offer the same foods to the whole
family. Don’t make special foods
for your child. Serve a food such as
bread or fruit with meals in case your
child likes nothing else on the menu.
ξ Set a good example! Try new foods
and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables,
whole grains and avoid processed
foods and sugar-sweetened drinks.
ξ To help your child’s appetite, don’t
allow grazing. Offer water between
meals and snacks.
ξ Praise good eating habits. Don’t
label your child as “picky.”
ξ Serve just one new food at a time
and do not mix foods. Children may
need to be offered new foods many,
many times before they try them.
ξ Small children will be messy. They
still enjoy finger foods and learning
to use utensils. Be ready with a cloth
under the highchair and a cloth to
clean up spills.
ξ Allow your toddler to help prepare
food. They can stir, sprinkle, roll up,
spread, and plop food items or help
set the table. This may increase their
interest in food.

How Many Servings per Day
Serving sizes and numbers vary with age, activity, and how fast your child is growing. The guide
below is for a child with normal activity. It provides all the nutrients needed for good health and
a good rate of growth. If your child is very active, they may need more calories from these food
groups. Avoid overfeeding and force feeding.

ξ Milk and dairy
o Children ages 1-8 should have 2- 2 1/2 cups of milk or other dairy foods such as
yogurt, fortified cow milk alternatives (soy, almond, rice, etc.) or cottage cheese
o Children under 2 should have whole milk. Children over 2 years should have fat-
free or low-fat dairy products.

ξ Meat, poultry, fish, egg, beans, nuts, and seeds:
(1 ounce meat equals one egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, ¼ cup cooked beans, or 1 oz
o 1 year old child: 1 ½ ounces per day
o 2-3 year old child: 2 ounces per day
o 4-8 year old child: 4 ounces per day

ξ Fruits:
Serving size is ¼ cup for a one year old, 1/3 cup for a 2-3 year old, and ½ cup or one
small fruit for a 4 year old and up.
o 1-3 year old child: 1 cup per day
o 4-8 year old child: 1 ½ cups per day

Limit juice to no more than 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice per day. Avoid fruit drinks,
soda pop, and “ade” drinks.

ξ Vegetables:
Serving size is ¼ cup for a one year old, 1/3 cup for a 2-3 year old, and ½ cup or one
small vegetable for 4 years and up.
o 1 year old child: ¾-1 cup per day
o 2-3 year old child: 1 cup per day
o 4-8 year old child: 1 ½ cups per day

ξ Grains:
One slice of bread, 1 oz of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked pasta, cooked rice, or
cooked cereal is equal to about one ounce.
o 1 year old child: 2 ounces per day
o 2-3 year old child: 3 ounces per day
o 4-8 year old child: 5 ounces per day

Desserts are not needed at all meals. When
you offer desserts they should be served
casually as part of the meal. This is so they
do not seem more pleasing than the rest of
the food served. Choose healthy desserts
such as fruit, custard, pudding or oatmeal
raisin cookies that can be part of a well-
balanced diet. Less healthy desserts such as
pie, cake, cookies and other rich foods
should be served less often.

Encourage Fruits and Vegetables
ξ Add grated carrots, zucchini, pumpkin,
banana, applesauce, raisins, squash,
berries, etc. to muffins, quick breads,
and pancakes.
ξ Dip fresh fruit slices and vegetables in
yogurt or cottage cheese dip or spread
with cream cheese, peanut butter, or
yogurt. Top with raisins, grated carrots,
crushed pineapple or banana.
ξ Make fruit, vegetable, cubed cheese, and
meat kabobs.
ξ Sprinkle potatoes with cheese, low-fat
sour cream, and chopped broccoli.
ξ Add grated carrots, zucchini, and/or
finely chopped mushrooms to burgers
and meatloaf.
ξ Make smoothies with fruits, spinach,
carrots, or pumpkin. Just add a little milk
and yogurt.

Active, growing children burn many calories
and will likely need to eat between meals in
order to keep going and growing.

We suggest healthy snacks that include
milk, small pieces of fruit, cut-up raw
vegetables, dried fruit, cheese or meat cubes,
yogurt, crackers spread with cottage cheese
or peanut butter, hard cooked eggs, and non-
sugared cereals. Although sweet snacks
provide calories, they have little nutritional
value and are bad for your child’s teeth. It is
better if they are offered only once in a

Snacks should be scheduled so they are not
too frequent or too close to mealtimes. Keep
snacks small and schedule them about 2
hours before or after a meal.

Prevent Dental Issues (cavities)
Although many children are weaned from
the bottle by their first birthday, those who
still take a bottle should not be allowed to
suck on it after they are asleep. Children’s
teeth should be brushed daily after breakfast
and at bedtime to prevent tooth decay.
Brushing or rinsing with water after eating
also helps to prevent dental cavities. Check
with your dentist or doctor about the need
for fluoride.

Children should take part in physical activity
each day. Promote their interest by playing
games along with them. Provide a safe,
supervised area for running, jumping,
chasing balls, swimming or any activity
your child is able to do. Inside games of
dancing, tumbling or skipping are great for
those “rainy days” when children can’t play
outdoors and tire of quiet activities.
Exercise along with a healthy diet helps
promote proper growth and prevents obesity.
Limit TV watching or computer and video
time to less than 2 hours per day.

Other Needs
Iodine may need to be added to your child’s
diet and depends on where you live. Check
with your doctor.

Children often do not get enough vitamin D
to help build strong bones. Talk to your
doctor about the need for a supplement.



Teach Back:

What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?

What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.

Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 7/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department
of Nursing. HF#194