Each of the 5 food groups provide nourishment. But certain groups are best for providing specific nutrients.

How much do kids need? It’s less than you think.

The amount of food kids need from each group varies with gender and age. This chart gives you a general idea of the amount from each food group that is suggested for a complete, balanced diet. As a general rule, a nutritionally balanced diet should include at least 3 of the 5 food groups at each meal. Snacks should contain two groups. Learn more about the basics of child nutrition, including which vitamins and minerals children need in their daily diet.

The Five Food Groups: Recommended Daily Servings for Children1

Grains (oz)

2 to 3 Years*

3 oz

4 to 8 Years*

5 oz

9 to 13 Years*

5 oz (girls)

6 oz (boys)

FOOD CHOICES2

1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal = 1 ounce

Bread, rice and pasta food group

Vegetables (cup)

2 to 3 Years*

1 cup

4 to 8 Years*

1 ½ cups

9 to 13 Years*

2 cups (girls)

2 ½ cups (boys)

FOOD CHOICES2

1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens = 1 cup

Vegetable food group

Fruits (cup)

2 to 3 Years*

1 cup

4 to 8 Years*

1 ½ cups

9 to 13 Years*

1 ½ cups

FOOD CHOICES2

1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit = 1 cup

Fruit food group

Milk/Dairy (cup)

2 to 3 Years*

2 cups

4 to 8 Years*

2 ½ cups

9 to 13 Years*

3 cups

FOOD CHOICES2

1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese = 1 cup

Dairy food group

Meat/Beans (oz)

2 to 3 Years*

2 oz

4 to 8 Years*

4 oz

9 to 13 Years*

5 oz

FOOD CHOICES2

1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish, 1/4 cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds = 1 ounce

Meat, fish and poultry food group
 

Additional nutritional solutions

PediaSure may be a good choice to provide complete, balanced nutrition if you’re not sure if your kids are getting enough of the nutrients they need from regular food. If you're looking for easier ways to implement PediaSure into your child's everyday diet, consider trying easy recipes for kids that use PediaSure and are also a great way to provide daily nutrition. Talk to your pediatrician to see if PediaSure might be a good choice.

* When referring to choosemyplate.gov, click on each food group to read what counts as 1 serving.

References:

1. Nicklas TA, et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:1038-1047.

2. http://www.choosemyplate.gov. Accessed 12/14/15.