A balanced diet is essential for a seven-year-old child to grow healthy and strong. When it comes to nutrition, it is important to remember that each child is unique and may have different dietary needs. However, there are some basic guidelines for what should be included in a seven-year-old’s diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a seven-year-old’s diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will provide essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to help promote healthy growth. Aim to serve at least one cup of vegetables and one cup of fruit at each meal. Offer a variety of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables to keep meals interesting.
Protein foods provide important nutrients for growth and development. Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes to provide protein. Aim to serve a portion of protein at each meal, about the size of a child’s palm. If your child is a vegetarian, offer soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds to provide adequate protein.
Dairy products are an important source of calcium, protein and other important vitamins and minerals. Include dairy at each meal, such as a cup of low-fat milk or an ounce of cheese. Non-dairy sources of calcium and vitamin D can be offered to children who don’t drink milk, such as fortified orange juice, fortified soy milk and tofu.
Whole grains are an important source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Serve whole grain breads, cereals, pastas and crackers at meals and snacks. Aim to offer at least three ounces of whole grain per day. Refined grains, such as white bread, white pasta and white rice, are OK occasionally, but should not be the main source of grains in a seven-year-old’s diet.
Fats and Oils
Healthy fats and oils are necessary for a seven-year-old’s diet. One teaspoon of olive, canola or peanut oil can be added to cooked vegetables and other dishes. Other sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, seeds and fish. Avoid fried foods and limit foods that are high in saturated and trans fats.
Sweets and Snacks
Sweets and snacks can be enjoyed occasionally, but should not replace important meals and snacks. Offer small portions of sweets and snacks, such as a few crackers with peanut butter or a small piece of dark chocolate. Aim to limit added sugars and offer whole, nutrient-dense snacks more often than sugary snacks.
Water is essential for growth and development. Offer water throughout the day, especially during meals. Sugary drinks, such as soda and juice, should be limited to special occasions. Avoid adding sugar to drinks, such as tea and coffee.
A seven-year-old’s diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, grains, fats and oils and occasional sweets and snacks. Offering a variety of nutrient-dense foods is important for healthy growth and development. Water should be offered throughout the day to stay hydrated.