How much fruit, vegetables and protein does your child need?

Dr. Mark R. Corkins, American Academy of Pediatrics

Credit: CC0 public domain

Q: How much fruit, vegetables and protein does my child really need every day?

A: There is a lot of information about proper nutrition and what to avoid. It can be confusing, especially for parents who need to feed their child’s growing body. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning and preparing meals for your family.

Your child needs to consume Various foods From 5 major food groups. Each food group supplies important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.Old saying about need Balanced diet It’s very true. This is a quick and easy nutrition guide for most children over the age of one.

  • Vegetables: 3-5 servings a day. A serving consists of 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup of other raw or cooked vegetables. Serve colorful vegetables and eat plenty for yourself. If you model good eating habits, your child is more likely to consume vegetables.
  • Fruits: 2-4 servings per day. Servings can consist of 1/2 cup of sliced ​​fruit, or medium-sized whole fruit such as apples, bananas, and pears.
  • Bread, cereal, or pasta: 6-11 servings per day. Each serving should be equivalent to 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of rice or pasta, or 1 ounce of cereal.
  • Protein Food: Serve 2-3 ounces of lean meat, chicken, or fish per day. There are other proteins besides meat. This group of servings can also consist of 1/2 cup of cooked dried beans, 1 egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for every 1 ounce of lean meat.
  • Dairy products: 1 cup of low-fat milk or yogurt serving 2-3 servings daily, or 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese.

Your child needs protein so that their body can grow and function properly. This includes the production of antibodies that help build new tissues and fight infections.Without it Essential amino acids (Protein component), children will be much more susceptible to serious illness. Protein-rich plants such as beans, peas (legumes), grains, seeds, and nuts can be a valuable source of protein. Other protein-rich foods include meat, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. These animal foods contain high quality proteins and a variety of amino acids.

However, keep in mind that while lean meats and shellfish are rich in protein and an important source of iron, they can also be high in fat and cholesterol. So your child needs to consume them in a reasonable amount. Choose a lean cut of meat and trim the fat before cooking. Similarly, remove the skin from the poultry before serving.

Humans cannot live without fat. Often described as bad, they are actually essential to some body functions. They are a concentrated source of energy and provide the essential fatty acids needed for various physical processes (metabolism, blood coagulation, vitamin absorption).

However, high fat intake, especially a diet high in saturated fat, can cause problems.Saturated fats are found in fatty meats (beef, pork, ham, veal, lamb, etc.) and many other meats. Dairy products (Whole milk, cheese, ice cream). They contribute to the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels and can cause heart disease in later years. A diet rich in saturated fat can also increase blood cholesterol, especially in people who inherit a tendency for high cholesterol levels.

Although they have some saturated fats, dairy products are still important in a balanced diet due to the important calcium, phosphate and vitamin D they supply.

As a general guideline, fat should make up less than 30% of the calories in a child’s diet.Less than about one-third of those fat calories should come from Saturated fat, The rest comes from unsaturated (polyunsaturated or monounsaturated) fats. These healthier fats include safflower, sunflowers, soybeans, and olive oil.

It is also important to limit the amount of sugar in your child’s diet. Many children usually consume large amounts of sugar at the expense of healthier foods.

Table salt, or sodium chloride, may improve the taste of certain foods, but researchers have found a relationship between dietary salt and high blood pressure in some people. The habit of using extra salt has been learned. So serve a low-salt children’s food and try the taste with herbs, spices, or lemon juice.

Five food groups to jump start nutrition

© 2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Quote: Ask a pediatrician: How much fruit, vegetables and protein does your child need? (October 18, 2021) October 18, 2021 Obtained from

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair transactions for personal investigation or research purposes. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

Back to top button