Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Conditions Evaluation guideline 2 to 6 years guideline 7 to 12 years guideline infants guideline teens Prevention diet exercise vaccines chicken pox DTaP hepatitis a hepatitis b HIB influenza IPV MMR prevnar

Children's Health Diet

Infants will grow faster in the first year of life than in any other time. The growth of babies and children is a reflection of the adequacy of their diet and is the single most important factor in the evaluation of nutritional status.

The infant's birth weight doubles in four months, from approximately 7 to 14 pounds, and another 7 pounds is added in the next eight months. By the end of the first year, the growth rate has decreased and the weight gain during the upcoming year may only be 5 to 7 pounds.

Unlike the formula fed baby, the infant who is breast-fed does not need supplements. Breast milk and the infant's own internal energy stores will meet most of the nutritional needs for the first 6 months of life. Exceptions to this could include vitamin D, fluoride, and iron supplementation.

General Recommendations for First Foods for Infants

Age (months)Food or Drink
0-4infant formula or breast milk
4-6iron fortified rice cereal, may add other cereals as tolerated
5-7strained vegetables and/or fruits and their juices, one at a time
6-8protein foods- cheese, yogurt, meat, fish, chicken, egg yolk
9finely chopped meat, toast, teething crackers
12whole milk may be introduced

Children's Daily Food Pattern for Good Nutrition
Children 1-3 years of age:
Milk and cheese4 servings/day (1/2 cup per serving)
Eggs1 serving/day (1 egg per serving)
Lean meat, fish, and poultry3+/day (1 tablespoon per serving)
Fruits and vegetables4+/day (1/3 cup per serving)
Breads4+ serving/day (1/2-1 slice per serving)
Cereals4+ serving/day (1/2 ounce per serving)
Fatsshould not exceed 1 tablespoon

Children 4-5 years of age:
Milk and cheese4 servings/day (3/4 cup per serving)
Eggs1 serving/day (1 egg per serving)
Lean meat, fish, and poultry3+/day (4 tablespoon per serving)
Fruits and vegetables4+/day (1/2 cup per serving)
Breads4+/day (1-1.5 slices per serving)
Cereals4+/day (1 ounce per serving)
Fatsshould not exceed 1 tablespoon

Children 6-12 years of age:
Milk and cheese4 servings/day (3/4 - 1 cup per serving)
Eggs1 serving/day (1 egg per serving)
Lean meat, fish, or poultry3+/day (1/2 cup per serving)
Fruits and vegetables4+/day (1/2 cup per serving)
Breads4+/day (1-2 slices per serving)
Cereals4+/day (1 ounce per serving)
Fatsshould not exceed 2 tablespoon

Snacks that Promote Dental Health
  • Juicy foods:
    • Apples
    • Berries
    • Oranges
    • Dill Pickles
    • Grapes
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Plums

  • Crunchy foods:
    • Carrots
    • Cauliflower
    • Celery
    • Apples
    • Cabbage
    • Cucumber Slices
    • Popcorn

  • Thirst quenchers:
    • Buttermilk
    • Diet Drinks
    • Milk
    • Tomato Or Unsweetened Juice

  • Hunger satisfiers:
    • Cheese Cubes Or Slices
    • Eggs
    • Meat Cubes Or Slices
    • Milk
    • Nuts
    • Sardines

Foods that Increase the Risk of Dental Disease
  • Juicy foods:
    • Dried Fruits
    • Jams
    • Jelly
    • Sweetened fruits and juices
    • Sweetened yogurt
    • Syrups

  • Crunchy foods:
    • Candy
    • Cookies
    • Sugared Cereals
    • Candied Apples

  • Thirst quenchers:
    • Ice Cream
    • Sweetened fruits and juices
    • Sweetened milk
    • Sweetened Yogurt

  • Hunger satisfiers:
    • Cake
    • Cookies
    • Ice Cream
    • Pie

Food portions:
  • Food portions should be adjusted appropriately for the age of the child. The child needs the same foods selected from the basic food groups as an adult, but in smaller quantities.
  • A good rule of thumb for quantities is to serve 1 tablespoon of cooked food per year of age (one serving). Frequency of offering food is important in fulfilling energy requirements as well as increasing nutrients. Foods should be offered 5 to 6 times per day at 2 to 2 and 1/2 hour intervals.
  • New foods should be served in small portions at meal times when the child is hungry. A new food introduced in small portions is less likely to be rejected.

General strategies for a healthy diet include:
  • Limit your intake of fat to 30% of your total calories.
  • 10% to 15% of your total calories should be in the form of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil.
  • Consume only unsaturated fats that are low in cholesterol.
  • Consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
  • Eat dietary fiber: whole grains are best.
  • Avoid fad diets.
  • Children should take a balanced multi-vitamin daily

Key Dietary Recommendations for Chronic Disease Prevention
NutrientRecommendation
Energy (calories)to maintain BMI < 25
Total fats< or = to 30% of total daily calories
Saturated fats< 7% of total daily calories
Polyunsaturated fats< 10% of total daily calories
Monounsaturated fats< 13% of total daily calories
Cholesterol< or = to 300 mg per day
Dietary fiber25-30 grams per day
Fiber type3:1 insoluble to soluble fiber
Sodium< or = to 1,500 mg per day
Calcium 9-24 yrs1,200-1,500 mg per day
Calcium 25-50 yrs1,000 mg per day
Calcium 51-65 yrs1,200 mg per day
Calcium >65 yrs1,500 mg per day
Vitamin D 9-50 yrs200 IU per day
Vitamin D 51-70 yrs400 IU per day
Vitamin D >70 yrs600 IU per day
Folic acid400 micrograms (ug) per day
Fruits & vegetables5-7 servings per day

Continue to Children's Health Exercise

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