Nutrition for School-Aged Child

  • Children ages 6 through 12 continue to need healthful foods and nutritious snacks.

    • Many life-long food habits, food preferences and dislikes are established when your child is in primary school.
    • Children this age are often willing to eat a wider variety of foods than they were only a few years before.
    • Your child's food choices may be influenced by his family, friends and even television.
    • Meals should be served at the table, not in front of the television.

    Children's Hospital Boston
    300 Longwood Avenue, Hunnewell 1
    Hunnewell Building, Ground Floor
    Boston MA 02115


  • How much does my child need to eat?

    School-aged children have a consistent but slow rate of growth, and usually eat four to five times a day, including snacks. A healthful after-school snack, in particular, is important, as it may contribute as much as one-third of your child's total calorie intake for the day.

    Children this age can help your with meal planning and preparation.

    What are some healthy after-school snacks?

    • fruit
    • vegetables and dip
    • yogurt
    • a sandwich
    • cheese and crackers
    • whole-grain cereal and milk

    What if my child has limited time for breakfast?

    It's possible to have a fast, healthful and nutritious breakfast. Consider:

    • fruit
    • milk
    • a whole-grain bagel
    • cheese toast
    • whole-grain cereal
    • peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread
    • yogurt

    What does the USDA suggest for my pre-school aged child?

    The USDA has recently revised its eating guidelines; the new focus is on variety, moderation, proportion size and gradual improvement in eating habits. The USDA's "My Pyramid" plan can be personalized based on your child's age, gender and activity level. Based on information you provide, "My Pyramid" recommends appropriate calories as well as fruit, vegetables, grain, meat/bean, milk and oil servings per day to ensure that your child gets adequate nutrition.

    More information can be found at

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