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How Much Should I Expect My Young Child To Eat?

How much should I expect my young child to eat? Children's appetites vary considerably from day to day, and even from one meal to the next, so you shouldn't expect (or demand) a clean plate at every meal. It's tough to know how much food you should serve, but a good rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of each food per year of age, up to about age 5. Don't be too concerned that a child gets the right amount of nutrients at each meal or snack. It's more important that nutrient needs are met by averaging intakes over time – over a day or a week.

Suggested meals and snacks

  1 to 3 years 4 to 6 years
breakfast    
milk 1/2 cup 3/4 cup
juice, fruit 1/4 cup 1/2 cup
cereal 1/4 cup 1/3 cup
bread 1/4 to 1/2 slice 1/2 slice
midmorning/ midafternoon snack    
milk 1/2 cup 1/2 cup
bread or 1/4 to 1/2 slice 1/2 cup
graham cracker (2" X 2") or 1 2
vanilla wafers 2 4-6
lunch or dinner    
milk 1/2 cup 1/2 to 3/4 cup
meat/meat alternative    
poultry, fish, cheese 1 oz 1-1/2 oz
cooked egg 1/2 egg 1 egg
cooked dry beans or peas 2 tbsp 1/4 cup
peanut butter 1 tbsp 2 tbsp
vegetables, fruit 2 tbsp 1/4 to 1/3 cup
breads (whole grain or enriched) 1/4 to 1/2 slice 1/2 slice

Quick Meals for Healthy Kids

From Quick Meals for Healthy Kids and Busy Parents. Copyright © 1995 by Sandra K. Nissenberg, Margaret L. Bogle, and Audrey C. Wright. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

To order this book visit www.wiley.com.

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From Quick Meals for Healthy Kids and Busy Parents. Copyright © 1995 by Sandra K. Nissenberg, Margaret L. Bogle, and Audrey C. Wright. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

To order this book visit www.wiley.com.


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