Children's food pyramid
Children need lots of different nutrients to stay healthy. The amounts of food a young child eats changes every day and at every meal depending on their needs. Taller, older children and children who are more active will eat more.
New healthy eating guidelines for children aged 1 to 4
It is important to use your child’s appetite to help you decide how much food to offer them. The Children’s Food Pyramid is designed to help you decide what foods and how much to offer them.
This pyramid organises food into five main shelves - a shelf for each food group.
What's on each shelf of the pyramid?
- Cereals, breads, potatoes, pasta and rice
- Vegetables, salad and fruit
- Milk, yogurt and cheese
- Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts
- Fats, spreads and oils
- Food high in fat, sugar and salt
There are seven key messages that will help us all building good eating habits for children.
- Healthy eating habits last a lifetime - Parents should eat a variety of healthy foods at home to lead by example and instill healthy eating habits from an early age. Happy Healthy Mealtimes
- Small servings for small tummies - Children aged 1 – 4 years old should be given 3 small meals and 2 to 3 healthy snacks a day. Some examples of portion sizes | Healthy snack ideas
- Milk is essential - Offer your child 3 servings of milk, yogurt or cheese every day.
- Limit treat foods - To avoid childhood obesity, you should only allow your child tiny amounts of foods high in fat, sugar or salt just once a week.
- Forget fizzy drinks - Fizzy drinks and some cordials can damage your child’s teeth. Offer them water or milk instead.
- Stick to a routine - Start every day with a healthy breakfast and stick to regular times for meals and snacks.
- Top up vitamin D in winter - Young children should be given 5 micrograms of vitamin D every day from Halloween (31 October) to St Patrick’s Day (17 March). More information about Vitamin D
Get the booklet: A Visual Guide to The Children's Food Pyramid