Recently, the Food & Drug Administration updated the content and look of the food pyramid for children, now known as My Pyramid. Inside the new pyramid, six stripes represent the five food groups, as well as the fats and oils that your child should consume each day. Each color represents a different food group.
- Orange: Grains
- Green: Vegetables
- Red: Fruits
- Blue: Dairy and Calcium-Rich Foods
- Purple: Proteins
- Yellow: Fats and Oils
The width of the colored stripe gives children a visual understanding that more servings need to be eaten from one group, such as grains, while others specify a smaller serving size need, such as the fats and oils group, which is a sliver in comparison. The stairs on My Pyramid represent the importance of exercise among children, with a minimum recommendation of 30 minutes a day being devoted to moderate exercise activity. Older children should aim for 60 minutes of exercise and/or physical activity at least five times a week.
The following list tells children how much they should eat from each group every day.
Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta: Children ages 2 to 8 need 3 to 5 ounces every day, while children ages 9 to 18 need 5 to 7 ounces every day. A 1-ounce serving could be 1 slice of bread; 1 cup of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal; or 1/2 cup cooked rice, cereal, or pasta.
Milk, Yogurt & Cheese: Children ages 2 to 8 need 2 cups every day, while children ages 9 to 18 need 3 cups every day. A cup serving could be 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese; or 2 ounces of processed cheese.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts: Children ages 2 to 8 need 2 to 4 ounces, while children ages 9 to 18 need 5 to 6 ounces every day. A serving ounce could be 1 ounce of cooked, lean, boneless meat, poultry, or fish. In addition, a serving ounce could be 1/4 cup of cooked dry beans; 1 tablespoon of peanut butter; or 1 egg.
Fruits: Children ages 2 to 8 need 1 to 1 1/2 cups, while children ages 9 to 18 need 1 1/2 to 2 cups every day. A cup serving could be 1 cup of cooked, canned, or frozen fruit; 1/2 cup of dried fruit; 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice; or 1 medium apple, banana, orange, pear, or peach.
Vegetables: Children ages 2 to 8 need 1 to 1 1/2 cups, while children ages 9 to 18 need 2 1/2 to 3 cups every day. A cup serving could be 2 cups of raw leafy greens; 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables; or 1 cup of vegetables juice.
Fats & Oils: They are essential to maintain body functions but should be used sparingly. Children ages 2 to 8 need 3 to 4 teaspoons, while children ages 9 to 18 need 5 to 6 teaspoons every day. Fats and oils supply calories and, if overeaten, could lead to obesity, which is a growing problem among children in America.
When children and parents follow the suggestions of My Pyramid, they consume the appropriate amount of each food group, as set by United States Department of Agriculture standards. This will aid in general health and will provide you with the needed vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.