Check out these nutrition basics for girls and boys at various ages. These guidelines are based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

Consider these nutrient intensive foods:

Protein - Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and nuts and seeds (unsalted).

Fruits - Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits — rather than fruit juice. If your child drinks juice, make sure it's 100 percent juice and limit his or her servings.

Vegetables - Serve a variety of fresh, canned or frozen vegetables — especially dark green, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas.

Grains - Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice.

Dairy - Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.

 

Limit your child's calories from solid fats and added sugar, such as butter, cake and soda. Look for ways to replace solid fats with vegetable and nut oils, which provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E, for example oils naturally present in olives, nuts, avocados and seafood.

If you have questions about nutrition for kids or specific concerns about your child's diet, talk to your child's doctor or a registered dietitian.

 

Ages 2 to 3: Daily guidelines for girls and boys

Calories

1,000-1,400, depending on growth and activity level

Protein

2-4 ounces

Fruits

1-1.5 cups

Vegetables

1-1.5 cups

Grains

3-5 ounces

Dairy

2-2.5 cups

 

Ages 4 to 8: Daily guidelines for girls

Calories

1,200-1,800, depending on growth and activity level

Protein

3-5 ounces

Fruits

1-1.5 cups

Vegetables

1.5-2.5 cups

Grains

4-6 ounces

Dairy

2-2.5 cups

  

Ages 4 to 8: Daily guidelines for boys

Calories

1,200-2,000, depending on growth and activity level

Protein

3-5.5 ounces

Fruits

1-2 cups

Vegetables

1.5-2.5 cups

Grains

4-6 ounces

Dairy

2.5-3 cups

 

Ages 9 to 13: Daily guidelines for girls

Calories

1,400-2,200, depending on growth and activity level

Protein

4-6 ounces

Fruits

1.5-2 cups

Vegetables

1.5-3 cups

Grains

5-7 ounces

Dairy

2.5-3 cups

 

Ages 9 to 13: Daily guidelines for boys

Calories

1,600-2,600, depending on growth and activity level

Protein

5-6.5 ounces

Fruits

1.5-2 cups

Vegetables

2-3.5 cups

Grains

5-9 ounces

Dairy

3 cups