Food Pyramid for Kids: How To Stay Nourished

If you or your child were bored of the old food pyramid model, the Food & Drug Administration has recently spruced things up!

Known as My Pyramid, the new food pyramid for kids is a simpler-to-understand and more visually appealing transition from the old model.

With different colored stripes for each of the five food groups, let’s take a look at what each color represents.

Orange – Grains

With the widest stripe, grains come out on top as the food group with the most servings children need to eat per day. These grains consist of bread, pasta, cereal, and rice.

As children grow older, their recommended grain servings per day increase:

  • Ages 2 to 8: 3 to 5 ounces
  • Ages 9 to 18: 5 to 7 ounces

Examples of a 1-ounce serving include one slice of wheat bread or one cup of shredded wheat cereal.

Kids should eat minimally processed whole grains, including:

  • Whole wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Grain pasta

Kids should avoid processed grains such as:

  • White rice
  • Sugar
  • Pizza crust
  • White bread

The bottom line is, the less-processed grains, the better!

Green – Veggies

The new food pyramid for kids says kids should eat lots of veggies and a wide assortment of them. Potatoes and french fries no longer count because they aren’t good for blood sugar.

The recommended servings per day include:

  • Ages 2 to 8: 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Ages 9 to 18: 2 1/2 to 3 cups

A single serving is 2 cups of raw leafy greens, whether lettuce, cabbage, sprouts, etc. One serving is also represented by 1 cup of vegetables like carrots, beets, broccoli, etc.

Red – Fruits

The more colors, the better. Avoid fruit juices as they contain highly concentrated amounts of sugar. Instead, children should only eat whole or sliced fruits.

The recommended servings per day include:

  • Ages 2 to 8: 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Ages 9 to 18: 1 1/2 to 2 cups

A single serving can be measured with cooked, canned, or frozen (1 cup), or dried fruit (1/2 cup). Avoid fruit juice (1 cup).

Blue – Dairy

With the smallest stripe, it is recommended that milk, yogurt, and cheese be consumed in smaller amounts than the other food groups. Servings per day include:

  • Ages 2 to 8: 2 cups
  • Ages 9 to 18: 3 cups

A single serving would be 1 cup of yogurt or milk, or natural cheese (1 1/2 ounces).

Children will benefit the most from drinking unflavored milk, plain yogurt, and small amounts of cheese. Avoid anything sweetened.

The research on the best dairy product intake is still in the works. It’s best to consult with a doctor to get a better idea of how much Calcium and Vitamin D consumption is best for your child.

You can also ask them about the best supplements for children.

Purple – Proteins

Proteins don’t necessarily mean meat, but meat is important in this food group. Beans, nuts, seeds, etc. are plant-based proteins excellent for your child’s health. Fish, eggs, and poultry are an excellent source of protein, too.

Avoid red meats like beef, pork, and lamb or processed meats like bacon, deli, and sausage.

Servings per day include:

  • Ages 2 to 8: 4 ounces
  • Ages 9 to 18: 5 to 6 ounces

A single serving size would be 1-ounce boneless meat, 1 quarter cup dried beans, or 1 egg.

Yellow – Fats and Oils

Be careful with this category. Fat is an essential part of your child’s daily diet, but too much fat is very unhealthy. Some of the best fats are extra virgin olive oil and very limited amounts of butter.

Servings per day include:

  • Ages 2 to 8: 3 to 4 teaspoons
  • Ages 9 to 18: 5 to 6 teaspoons

It cannot be stressed enough. Children who eat too many fats can be at risk of becoming obese. Always keep an eye out for saturated and trans fats.

Learn More About the New Food Pyramid for Kids!

The updated food pyramid for kids, My Pyramid, is an amazing nutritional tool to keep your child healthy and strong, but always be on the lookout for any changes made by the Food and Drug Administration.

Be sure to check out our blog to learn more!

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