Kids and Eating – Frequently Asked Questions
Compiled by Linda N. Stuhlman for Best Beginnings workshops
How much does a preschooler (ages 3-5) need to eat per day?
- Juice: no more than 6 oz. per day, Fruits: 2 or 3 per day (1 cup)
- Vegetables: 2 or 3 per day (1 cup), Milk or milk products: 2 to 3 cups per day
- Meat, poultry, fish: 4 oz. per day, Bread, cereal, pasta: 6 servings per day
Why should I limit the amount of juice?
- Too much juice leads to tooth decay and obesity.
- Offer water throughout the day. Water is important for good health and brain development.
- Sports drinks are not a substitute for water but should be considered the same as juice: only ½ to 1 cup per day.
How can I make meal time a happy time at my house?
- Food digests better when stress is low so try these tips:
- Have children participate in getting the meal on the table by setting the table, and getting drinks. Family cooperation sets the tone.
- Have assigned seats and stick to them every meal.
- Serve dinner family style (put food in bowls for everyone to dish out for themselves)
- Have a beginning of meal routine: say grace or a sing a song.
- Let children see you eating healthy foods as they learn by imitating.
- Start a conversation about each family member’s day.
- Recognize that children need to eat earlier than 1 hour prior to bedtime.
How can I get my child to try new foods?
- Recognize that 8 to 12 experiences are necessary for a child to try and then accept a new food. Start with smelling a food, then licking it!
- Make some fun food; such as faces or shapes.
- Let children choose a new food to try when you take them grocery shopping.
- Avoid forcing children to try new foods.
- Grow a garden. Read books. Visit ethnic restaurants.
What rules should I have for meal time?
- Have regular times for meals and snacks.
- Use good manners (parents set an example)
- Sit on your bottom on the chair.
- Stay at the table for 5 or 10 minutes. (even if finished eating)
- Ask to be excused.
- Take your plate to the sink.