Food Guide Pyramid for Children

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Children’s food pyramid is a nutrition guide designed to assist parents in choosing healthy foods for children aged between 2 and 6 years It is designed to promote healthy eating habits, to be followed for life.

The pyramid contains five main categories of food necessary for a healthy diet. Also, the food pyramid emphasizes that foods high in fat, oils and sweets should be eaten in moderation.
Child nutrition is important for overall health condition. A Proper nutrition helps to prevent medical conditions – obesity, diabetes, etc. – and ensure normal growth.

Basic food principles:

Variety – No food consumed separately (or food group) can provide all the vitamins and minerals. The variety consists in choosing foods from all groups, but also variation of food from the same category.
Nutritional balance – may be provided in the diet by choosing more servings based on food groups located at the bottom of the pyramid – grains, vegetables and fruits – and fewer servings from groups at the top of the pyramid – fats and sweets.
Moderation – Fats, oils and sweets (butter, margarine, candy and soft drinks), located on top of the pyramid, should be eaten in moderation.

You can help in promoting healthy eating principles by providing a good example to your child. Eating habits and regular physical activity should be part of your family life. Compliance of food principles is easier when the whole family join them. Do not buy too much candy and high-calorie snacks, soft drinks and ice cream.


The cereal group, including bread, rice, pasta, cereals and corn flakes for breakfast, provide most of the energy a child needs every day. All are rich in carbohydrates (which release energy), as well as B vitamins (folic acid), which help the body use proteins required for muscle formation.

At least half of the cereals consumed each day by the child should come from whole grains – wheat, barley, brown rice, rye. Whole grains contain dietary fiber that protects against heart disease and diabetes and helps maintaining the child’s weight. They are different from refined grains such as white bread or white rice, which were industrially processed and lost a large part of their nutrients.

Vegetables and fruits


Vegetables provide many vitamins, minerals and fiber needed for a good digestion. It is therefore important to include a variety of vegetables in your child’s diet.
Vegetables can be consumed, preferably raw, or boiled. By boiling, some vitamins and minerals are lost in the water though.
A serving of vegetables includes ½ bowl of cooked vegetables or 1 bowl of raw, green vegetables.


Fruits are excellent sources of vitamin A and C, and minerals such as potassium and fiber, which aid digestion. Fruits are consumed raw and preferably should be washed carefully in advance.
One serving of fruits includes 1 raw fruit, ¾ cup 100% fruit juice, ½ cup canned fruits or ¼ cup dried fruits.

Dairy products
Dairy group includes milk, cheese and yogurt. All are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium and protein.
Vitamin A is necessary for the eyes, skin and hair, while vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption in the body, used for bones, teeth, muscles and nerves

A serving of milk includes:
– 1 cup milk or yogurt
– 50 g cheese

Meat is part of the group of foods rich in protein, which help maintain and repair body tissue and aid muscle formation.

Foods in this category contain B vitamins and iron, important for building strong bones and teeth.

With meat, some nutritionists include in this category other foods rich in proteins: nuts, peanuts, nuts, seeds, beans and eggs.

Thus, a portion of this category includes: 50 – 100 g lean meat (beef, chicken or fish) and ½ cup of beans. Half portion of meat can be replaced with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or one egg.

Fats, oils and sweets

Fats and oils contain essential nutrients for body work, but should be eaten in moderation. Fats help absorb vitamins A, D, E, K and beta-carotene. Even if body fat is necessary, you should not abuse them, because they contain more calories.

Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature and can come in many plants – olives, nuts, soy, sunflower – and types of fish. Most oils are high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These fats increase levels of HDL (good), which prevents heart disease. In contrast, solid fats such as butter, lard and margarine contain saturated fats and trans fats that raise LDL cholesterol (bad) blood.

The type of fat is very important: saturated fats found in meat, milk, coconut, increase cholesterol more than unsaturated ones from olive, peanut or canola oil, or polyunsaturated fats from sunflower, corn, soybean and cotton seeds.
Sweets get quickly into the bloodstream and provide kids a quick dose of energy. But the amount of sugar supplied as candy and other foods of this kind should be controlled, because the body stores excess sugar as body fat. This can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Sweets contain a lot of calories, but little nutritional value This category includes white or brown sugar, candy, soft drinks, jellies, marmalade and jam.

Tips for choosing types of fats:
– Eat lean meat and fat dairy products
– Use unsaturated vegetable oils and margarine that have as the main ingredient a liquid vegetable oil
– Read the nutritional information on product labels to see what amount and type of fat foods containing
– Eat in moderation foods high in saturated fat
– Eat in moderation foods that contain large amounts of sugar and avoid adding sugar



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