Kids Healthy Dinner Plate

The Healthy Kids Dinner Plate is a visual guide to help educate and encourage children to eat well and keep moving. At first glance, the chart shows examples of the best food choices to inspire healthy food and snack choices, and emphasizes physical activity as part of the equation for staying healthy.

Build a healthy and balanced diet

Eating a variety of foods makes our food attractive and flavorful. It is also key to a healthy and balanced diet because each food has a unique mix of nutrients—both macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The Healthy Kids Dinner Plate provides a blueprint to help us make the best eating choices.

Along with filling half of our plates with colorful vegetables and fruits (and choosing them as snacks), split the other half between whole grains and healthy protein:


  • Vegetables: The more vegetables – and the more variety – the better. Potatoes and French fries don't count as vegetables because of their negative impact on blood sugar.
  • Fruits: Eat lots of fruits of all colors. Choose whole fruit or sliced ​​fruit (rather than fruit juice; limit fruit juice to one small glass per day).
  • Whole grains: Choose whole grains or foods made with minimally processed whole grains. The less processed grains, the better.

Whole grains — whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, and foods made with them, such as whole wheat pasta and 100% whole grain breads — have a gentler effect on blood sugar and insulin than white rice, bread, pizza crusts, pasta, and other foods. and other refined grains.

Healthy Protein: Choose nuts and legumes, nuts, seeds, and other healthy plant-based protein options, as well as fish, eggs, and poultry.

Limit red meats (beef, pork, lamb) and avoid processed meats (bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, sausages).

It is also important to remember that fat is an important part of our diet, and most importantly the type of fat we eat. We should regularly choose foods with healthy unsaturated fats (such as fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy plant oils), limit foods high in saturated fat (especially red meat), and avoid unhealthy trans fats ( of partially hydrogenated oil):


Use healthy oils from plants like extra virgin olive, canola, corn, sunflower, and peanut oils in cooking, in salads and vegetables, and at the table.

Limit butter to occasional use.

Dairy foods are needed in lesser amounts than other foods on our plates:


Choose unflavored milk, plain yogurt, a little cheese, and other unsweetened dairy foods.

Milk and other dairy products are convenient sources of calcium and vitamin D, but the optimal intake of dairy products has not been determined and research is still progressing. For children who consume little or no milk, ask their doctor about the possibility of calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

Water should be the drink of choice at every meal and snack, as well as when we are active:


Water is the best choice to quench our thirst. It's also sugar-free, and easy to find like the nearest faucet.

Limit juices—which contain as much sugar as soda—to one small glass per day, and avoid sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks, which provide lots of calories and almost no other nutrients. Over time, drinking sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other problems.

Lastly, like choosing the right foods, incorporating physical activity into our daily lives by staying active is part of the recipe for staying healthy:


Swap inactive "sitting time" for "good time."

Children and teens should get at least one hour of physical activity per day, and they don't need fancy equipment or a gym—The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing unstructured activities for kids like playing tug of war, or having fun using play equipment.

Overall, the main message is to focus on diet quality.

The type of carbohydrates in the diet is more important than the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, because some sources of carbohydrates—such as vegetables (other than potatoes), fruits, whole grains, and beans—are much healthier than sugar, potatoes, and beans. foods made from white flour.

Kids Healthy Eating Plate does not include sugary drinks, candy and other fast food. It is not an everyday food and should be eaten rarely, if ever.

Healthy Eating Plate for children recommends

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