Nutrition, just like clothes and shoes, can be very age-specific. Children at different ages require different sets of nutrients in different proportions to facilitate growth. Conventionally, there is a universal list of scientifically recognized nutrients. The difference in diets for different ages is the proportion of these nutrients the food items contain. Children between the ages of three to five are known to be very active. Aside from this, Nutritional Requirements for 3-5 year olds as these kids happen to grow very rapidly.
Therefore, you would expect to expose them to supplements and the dietary structure that supports their activity and growth rate. Finally, how much food should a kid between three and five years of age even consume?
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What is the appropriate quantity that these kids need for optimal growth? Stick around; you will find the answers in the subsequent paragraphs.
What Nutrients do three to five year olds need?
If you want to go by standard dietary recommendations, children between the ages of three to five should take 1 – 3 cups (s) of pure fruit smoothie a day. Some very popular, easily accessible, and easy to prepare fruits include apples, strawberries, and grapefruits.
These children need these fruits for the following functions;
Fruits contribute to the strengthening of the children’s immune system. As a result, they are protected from infections and childhood-associated diseases. Consuming fruits at this age is especially effective in strengthening the cells that form the first line of defense against disease.
Some fruits contain substances that act as growth stimulants. These constituents contribute to the stimulation and regulation of child growth. As a result of this, the baby grows up into the optimal stature and physique.
Fruits contain fiber contents that aid the proper movement of the digestive tract. This, in turn, enhances food absorption and consequently aids in the overall growth of a child.
Fruits – especially fruits like bananas – contain potassium that can contribute to the kid’s heart and other active tissues’ proper functioning.
Furthermore, potassium is very functional in regulating the actively contracting and relaxing muscles in a child’s body. This is especially important for a boy child that is five years of age.
They move around a lot, so they need nutrients that can sustain the speed of their muscle contractions.
Some fruits are known to contribute Vitamin A to the body. This vitamin is necessary for the formation of proper eyesight and the growth of a functional heart.
Finally, fruits are popularly known to contain Vitamins. These vitamins help to protect the body against infections and see to the overall smooth functioning of individual body systems.
Vegetables are another vital part of the diet of a three to five year old child. According to standard nutritional requirements, children within the specified age group are expected to take vegetable equivalent to one and a half to 4 four cups of vegetables in their daily diet.
Among all the available types of vegetables, dark leafy ones and yellow vegetables stand atop the ladder of recommendation. Your 3-5 year old needs vegetables for the following effects;
Vegetable contains vitamin C which primarily protects the body cells from getting oxidized. Furthermore, this vitamin is popular for protecting the body from diseases and infections.
They are also known to contain Vitamin D, which helps the child’s body properly absorb nutrients like calcium and magnesium to develop healthy teeth and bones.
Vegetables are also known to contain potassium that could help protect the heart’s health and aid the proper functioning of the child’s muscles.
They are known to be rich in fibers. They are very instrumental in aiding bowel motility, and they are crucial to toddlers.
This sort of nutrient is essential to balance out the actions of food items rich in calories.
Vegetables also help to aid growth regulation in 3-5 year old children. This food subclass is mainly known to be instrumental in regulating the weight of kids.
Therefore, if you are looking forward to controlling obesity and ensuring healthy growth, you need to introduce vegetables into the diet in the correct quantity.
Children between the age of 3-and 5 years are expected to consume whole grains in their daily diet actively. In this case, it is more nutritionally beneficial if you’re your 3-5 years old consumes unrefined (whole grain).
Refined grain products may have – at one point or the other – lost their nutrients during production. By standards nutritional requirements, a child between the ages of 3 – 5 years of age is expected to consume whole grain within the range of 4-6 ounces daily.
When children consume grains, it serves the following functions for their bodies;
Whole grains are known to contain edible fiber components that aid smooth intestinal motility when consumed by children. Therefore, it is essential to prevent constipation and reduce intestinal stress in these children.
Whole grains contain vitamin B. This vitamin is scientifically recognized for immune development. It happens to be essential in 3-5years olds since they just started the growth phase of their lives.
Aside from generating energy from the carb content of these grains, they also contain niacin and riboflavin which help to gain more energy by catalyzing the conversion of fats and carbs to energy-giving compounds in the body system.
Whole grains also contain mineral components that are essential for teeth and bone strength. That is in no doubt important for 3-5-year-olds. Furthermore, these minerals are also necessary for oxygen distribution in the body’s micro-transport system.
Finally, whole grains contain the most potent antioxidants in the body of children. These antioxidants have a similar function to those found in vegetables.
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Children between the age of 3-5 years old are expected to include a substantial amount of protein in their diet.
According to the standard nutritional requirements, these children are expected to take between 3-6 ounces of protein daily.
The best protein sources for these children would be beans, peanut butter, tofu, and especially Lean meat. Lean meats are an excellent source of dietary optimal protein food.
Here are some of the benefits of consuming proteins for your 3-5 year old;
Protein is the very basis for growth in human beings. The 20 amino acids are basic templates upon which the instructions for all body structures are built. Due to this sole fact, children must get the right amount of protein to sustain their growth phase.
Proteins (like collagens) are essential for bone formation and strengthening. These proteins also form the basis for the formation of joint formation, nourishment, and strengthening. Therefore, they are essential for the formation of strong limbs in your children as they grow.
Proteins are essential for reparative functions in the body cells and tissues. They are very instrumental in repairing any tissue damaged when the children are playing around.
Proteins also provide children with the required muscle mass and tone for their age range. This bulk of muscles are significant for child mobility and general activity.
For the sake of balance, it is pertinent that a child between the ages of 3-5 takes between 1.5 to 3 cups of dairy food according to standard dietary requirements.
Examples of food items that qualify as healthy dairy are calcium-fortified soy milk, 2 cups of cottage cheese, etcetera. These food components are known for producing the sodium and calcium necessary for bone growth and electrolyte transport.
This food is needed in a significantly lesser quantity when compared to the others. Since children can get fats and oils from the food they eat every day, the standard dietary recommendation is that they take 3 teaspoons daily.
Serving sizes for 3-5 years old
Asides from the proportion of respective food classes in a diet, the serving size is another essential factor. Getting the right size of food for your three to five year old is just as crucial for healthy living as getting the right proportion of the food classes in a single meal. So, let’s examine standard serving sizes recommended by professionals;
According to the USDA, a simple way to estimate food sizes for 3-5 year olds would be to measure out a quarter to a half of the standard adult serving size (per spoon).
However, this is for only those who know the standard adult serving measurements. For the purpose of accuracy, here are some size measurements specific to food items
What are the Nutritional Requirements for 3-5 year olds
One ounce of grains (serve three times daily)
- 5 whole-grain crackers
- 1 slice of bread
- ½ cup oatmeal, rice, or pasta
- 1 cup dry cereal
One cup of dairy (serve times daily)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup yogurt (or an 8-ounce container)
- 3 slices of processed cheese
- 2 slices of hard cheese
- I cup of soymilk
One ounce of protein (serve twice daily)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter
- ¼ cooked beans
- 2 tablespoons of hummus
- Beef, pork, or poultry about the size of a pack of gum
One cup of fruit
- 1 large banana
- ½ large apple or 1 cup of apple juice
- 8 large strawberries
- 32 grapes
One cup of vegetables (serve 1 daily)
- 2 cups equivalent of leafy greens
- 1 cup equivalent of vegetables either cooked or raw
Healthy feeding is very important for healthy child development. As a parent of kids (especially those between the ages of 3-5), balance and sizing are very important things that you need to factor into whatever you are doing. To achieve this is to achieve perfection, and really, it’s not that hard. It just takes paying attention to details and following standard instructions.