Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition

Early Childhood Nutrition (0 – 5)

The Early Childhood Years

  • Young children need to develop healthy eating and physical activity habits early on.  Children pattern habits after parents and caregivers.  Good role models are important.
  • Preschoolers quickly grow and change physically, mentally, and socially.
  • Preschoolers need healthy food to meet their growth and developmental needs. These can best be met by following national and/or local food guide recommendations for ages 2 - 5.
  • Parents and caregivers know the importance of nutrition to a child’s physical and mental development to grow and develop. However, they also need to be good role models.
  • Meal and snack times teach sharing and socializing skills.  Small children have small stomachs and get full quickly. They need child-sized servings for meals and snacks that respect local traditions and customs.
  • Note that even pre-school children can learn basic kitchen and gardening skills.

Recommended Number of Food Guide Servings per Day


Age in Years
2-3 4-8 9-13
Girls and Boys
Vegetables and Fruits 
4 5 6
Grain Products 
3 4 6
Milk and Alternatives 
2 2 3-4
Meat and Alternatives
1 1 1-2

For more information and advice, visit these sites: