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Healthy Diets for Kids: A Practical Guide

Healthy Diets for Kids: A Practical Guide

Your child’s diet should include a variety of food from the four different food groups:

  • Rice and alternatives
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Meat and alternatives

A mix of these food groups provides energy and nutrients for a healthy child. Select more food from the base of the pyramid (e.g. rice, bread, noodles) and less from the top of the pyramid (food high in fat, oils or sugar such as deep-fried food and sweets).

Recommended number of servings per day for children, according to their age

Examples of “1 serving” for the different food groups

Ways to encourage consumption of fruit, vegetables and whole grains

Fruit and vegetables

  • Serve breakfast cereal with diced apples or a sliced banana
  • Prepare fruit smoothies with fresh fruit and reduced-fat milk
  • Add shredded lettuce and carrot to porridge
  • Top toast with mushrooms, tomatoes, capsicums or sweet corn
  • Serve cucumber, carrot and capsicum sticks with low-fat yoghurt dip
  • Make a colourful fresh fruit platter for dessert
  • Add a variety of vegetables to meat dishes, noodles and soups
  • Cut vegetables into interesting sizes and shapes, like stars and diamonds, to make vegetables more appealing to children

Whole grainsOffer wholemeal bread, whole-grain cereal or whole-wheat biscuits for breakfast or as a snack

  • Replace white rice, white vermicelli and pasta with brown or red rice, brown rice vermicelli or whole-wheat pasta
  • Replace half the flour used for baking bread, cakes and kuehs with whole-grain flour
  • Use crushed unsweetened whole-grain cereal or oats as breading for baked/pan-fried chicken or fish
  • Use whole-grain flour in place of corn flour to thicken sauces and soups

Note: Incorporate whole grains slowly into your children’s diet if they have not tried whole grains before or have an aversion to it. Try replacing a slice of white bread with wholemeal bread when making sandwiches, or half of white rice with brown rice. You can also serve whole grains with other food that your children enjoy eating. For example, serve oatmeal with raisins and whole-grain cereals with low-fat yoghurt.

The text of this article was originally published on the website of the Health Promotion Board. Reproduced with some modifications with permission from HPB.

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