To meet their daily nutritional requirements, kids should eat:
- 2 to 3 cups of milk (or 1 /2 oz cheese or 1 /2 cup yogurt for each 1/ 2 cup milk)
- 2 servings of meat, one to two ounces each (or an egg, peanut butter, tofu, legumes)
- 4 to 5 one quarter cup servings of vegetables and fruits (that's one small apple, a half of a banana, three carrots sticks, mashed potatoes, four or five strawberries, a half cup of juice) Be sure to serve vitamin C rich foods daily, and a good source of vitamin A at least three to four times a week)
- 4 servings of grain foods ( 1 slice bread, 1 /2 cup pasta, 5 saltines, 1 /2 cup cooked cereal)
Some More Good Habit Forming ideas:
- Have set mealtimes. Make sure your child is hungry when she comes to the table. She'll not only be more inclined to eat, but more apt to enjoy the food. Develop strategies to help your child wait to eat, even when she's hungry. Keep her away from where the food is being prepared if necessary. Perhaps Dad can read a favorite story why you get the meal on the table?
- Don't be critical. Eating skills are still being developed at this stage and the less you criticize the better off she'll be. Studies show that kids do less well nutritionally the more they are criticized. Of course, reasonable limits and expectations are appropriate.
- Food away from home: By now your child is probably spending significant parts of the day away from home, either in preschool or elementary school. School lunches vary in quality and you can count yourself lucky if you are pleased with the food your child is offered. If not, here are a dozen healthy suggestions you can pack in their lunch boxes.