Preschool-aged children should be eating the same food as the rest of the family to ensure that they receive the nutrition that they need to fuel their bodies and minds. Their diets must be comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats (i.e. fish, chicken, turkey, lean hamburger), whole grain breads, cereals, and healthy dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt.
The following sample menu ideas will get you started. Please note that this menu is intended for a preschooler who weighs about 35 pounds and is recommended by AAP.
Start the day with a half cup of non-fat or low-fat milk poured over a half cup of whole grain cereal. Slice a half cup of strawberries, banana, or cantaloupe, and top the cereal with the fruit.
Prepare a sandwich with two slices of whole wheat bread and peanut butter and jelly, sliced fresh or roasted vegetables and dressing, or one to two ounces of meat and cheese. Serve it with one quarter cup dark yellow or dark green vegetables and a half cup of non-fat or low-fat milk.
For a mid-morning snack, prepare a half cup of yogurt topped with a half cup of sliced berries, banana, or melon. Serve it with a half cup of non-fat or low-fat milk. For a mid-afternoon snack, give your child the choice of string cheese, sliced fruit, or one teaspoon of peanut butter spread on one slice of whole wheat bread.
A child sized dinner portion consists of two ounces meat, fish, or chicken; a half cup rice, pasta, or potato; and one quarter cup vegetables alongside a half cup non-fat or low-fat milk.
If you include butter, salad dressing, or another sauce or dip with a meal or snack, limit the serving to one or two teaspoons. Also, try to get rid of the sugary beverages from your child’s diet.