What Does Your 4 1/2 to 5 Year Olds Eat and How Much?

Updated on March 02, 2009
D.S. asks from Sacramento, CA
6 answers

I am working on preparing meal plans for my family (consists of pregnant me, daughter who turns 5 in may and is thin and 4 feet tall, and my 6'6 husband who works 10 hour shifts where he walks all the time). I am trying to find out what the average 4 1/2 to 5 year old eats in a healthy diet and how much so I can try and work that into the rest of the equation along with my husband and myself...so what does your child eat and how much?

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So What Happened?

second edit: sorry to get crabby with the original responders, i'm hormonal and i apologize. Thank you to the second two who responded your responses were very helpful. I was just confused lately since her tastes are bouncing, she used to eat tons of veggies and now keeps asking for juice and snacks all the time and not wanting to eat her spaghetti or chicken...she just picks..going to try fruits and veggies for a few days and hold off and the main dishes unless she asks for some when we eat.

first edit:Didnt really get an answer to the actual question I asked, so closing my request, I tried to delete it but there doesn't seem to be an option. My question asked what types of foods that kids this age, and I never stated I was forcing my child to eat more thank she should, she knows when to stop...

More Answers



answers from Salinas on

I just measured my just turned 5 year old daughter who is 46" tall, maybe they will meet one day on the basketball court. I just wanted to add my two cents that I always used the approach by pediatrician Dr. Sears and my own drs recommendation to have children graze on fruits, vegetables, and protien throughout the day. We have been fortunate that our kids (son who is 2.5) love brocolli, asparagus, carrots, cucumbers etc and we make sure they get their apples, oranges, etc and then for protein cut up chicken, chicken tenders, fish sticks, hard boiled eggs, etc. They get their grains too with whole wheat toast for breakfast with a glass of milk.
My dr really stresses that they should not have juice just milk or water. They need to eat their fruit and not drink it. (When they have colds I give them juice.)

At the end of the night we usually have a scoop of ice cream.
So to sum it up it is all day grazing in our household and never 3 sit down meals. Different but dr. recommended. Kids are healthy, slim, and energetic.
Take care!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sorry you didn't get more specific response at first!

For snack or between meals, we eat a lot of easy raw foods like oranges, clementines (kids can peel them without help!), bananas, sliced apple, and vegetables such as broccoli, celery, baby carrots.

For breakfast, it varies a LOT. On the run, we have a toasted waffle and a glass of milk. With more time, sometimes a small bowl of cold cereal or warm oatmeal (probably about 1/4 cup, if that). Sometimes hard-boiled eggs (usually 1 or 2), or fried eggs, or pancakes. Sometimes a slice of toasted whole-grain bread, with butter. Then a childrens' vitamin.

For lunch, weekdays, peanut butter sandwich on one slice of whole-grain bread (cut in half), plus raw broccoli florets and 4-6 baby carrots, or 3-4 strawberries. Plus one cheese serving, the kind that groceries sell in packets of maybe 12 individually wrapped? Plus one clementine. Weekday lunch sometimes comes home with leftovers, whatever didn't get eaten, usually the crust of the sandwich, or a carrot or two.

For lunch, weekends, anything goes.

For dinner, try any of Trader Joe's frozen pasta or stir-fry dishes, with vegetables, and use the sauce packets sparingly to lessen the sodium intake. These dishes are just as good with minimal or no sauce, and they're often brightly colored, visually appealing.

Our family really likes fish and there are never leftovers from those dinners. Simple chicken dinners go over well, too, whether broiled or in a soup with lots of veggies.

I'm not wild about pasta or mac&cheese but you can boost the nutrition there with a can of tuna or veggies such as peas.

I try to keep it simple, and as natural as possible. My child seems to thrive on the foods we could grow in our own garden, or pick off of trees. And I let her eat at her own pace and preference. Some meals she eats like a bird, others, like a wolf, and it isn't dependent on what is being served, just on how much energy she needs to restore.

Not sure how to feed the 6'6" guy. ;D

Best of luck to you and :D happy pregnancy!

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answers from San Francisco on

Wow your daughter is tall...

I try to get my 5 year-old to eat everything we eat (except for really spicy foods). Whether he ends up eating it is another question. But I don't make anything special for him. I can only guess as to the quantity he eats but I'd say it's roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of what an adult eats.

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answers from San Francisco on

Kisd that age have a better internal monitor of how much to eat that adults do. She will eat as much as she needs. Making them eat more or less than what they want only leads to weight issues. The best thing you can do is make a meal and how much she eats if left to her.



answers from San Francisco on

I let my son eat as much as he wanted. If you are serving a variety of healthy foods, let them eat until they are full. It is my understanding that children know when they are done(treats may an exception). My son doesn't eat as much as some of his friends in a sitting, however, he eats often throughout the day. He is just turning 7, and is 49" and 59lbs. When I have tried to get him to eat beyond when he says he is full, he has thrown up, so I try not to push it. If he is hungry, he finishes it later.



answers from San Francisco on

I'm coming to this a bit late, but thought I would chime in. I was never too concerned with what my kids ate at any one meal, becasue they usually make up for it at another. A rule of thumb from a dietician was that a serving is 1 tsp/year of age. Kids get overwhelmed if there is too much on their plates. My girls are now 7 & 9 and we still feed them on bread and butter plates. They eat what we eat, just smaller portions. They can have seconds if they choose. If I'm serving something they haven't eaten before, I serve only to my husband and myself. I tell the girls that it is adult food and that they won't like it. They always beg to try it. Anything else, I just dial down the spices a bit. Kids like blander versions of adult food. I do limit ketchup and tell them that if the food needs too much ketchup, they shouldn't eat it. I'm trying to start them young to appreciate the taste of food.

I hope that was closer to what you were looking for.


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