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Helping Children Eat A Balanced Meal With Foods From All The Food Groups

Maggie LaBarbera • RN, MBA • Aug 12, 2011
balanced meal for kidsThe New My Plate teaches children what a balanced healthy meal looks like.
A healthy plate includes food from all the food groups. This means:
  • fruits and vegetables that fill up half the plate
  • some healthy lean protein 
  • high calcium with vitamin D food like milk 
  • whole grains filled with fiber and vitamins.
Helping children make a healthy plate that is balanced with the five food groups can sometimes be a challenge.  Not to mention, trying to find easy lunch ideas or dinner ideas for kids that are balanced is even harder.  After all, we know children have their own opinions and tastes.  But there are some things you can do to encourage your child and set them up for success at the dinner table!


Promoting A Balanced Meal To Children

Here are some simple strategies you can use to help the whole family that promote servings from all the food group.balanced meals for children food groups
  • Have a menu with all the colors of the food groups and have the children pick one food from each of the food groups to have during meal time.
  • Provide a nice variety of foods from each of the food groups.
  • Encourage your child to take one scoop from each of the food groups.
  • Have a couple vegetables and fruits to choose from. Even fresh and sliced is okay.
  • Kids like to dip. You can have some vegetables cut up and a low fat dressing.
  • Encourage kids to have fun coloring their plate with foods that have color. You’ll see that colorful foods tend to be the healthier foods.
  • If children are resistant to whole grain foods, then try mixing them.  For example, try mixing some white rice with some brown rice.  That helps them get used to the taste.
  • Include one healthy carb from the grains food group. For example, serve just whole wheat bread, brown rice or whole wheat pasta instead of pasta and bread.
  • Cut lean meats into small portions before placing them on the table so they are more inviting to a child's small mouth.
  • Avoid sodas, sugary drinks and fruit juices during meals. But if they insist on some juice, one six-ounce glass a day of 100% fruit juice is plenty.
  • Include water as part of a healthy meal, its great for the digestion

If your child eats a balanced food with some foods from all the food groups, they will feel better and have more energy.









See All Our Nutrition Articles

Written by Maggie LaBarberaWritten on Aug 12, 2011Last updated on Sep 30, 2013




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