4 years baby girl food chart

Sample Day of Meals for a 4-Year Old Child

Feeding your child healthy and easy kid-friendly meals can be a breeze! Check out our sample kids meal and snack ideas below for a preschooler!

Preschooler’s Eating Interests

Being four years old is such a fun age! Your little one is full of so many questions! This is a great time to get your child involved in preparing food because they are more interested in rules like food safety, and their attention span has lengthened. By age 4 your child will have further developed his or her feeding skills and will continue to expand his or her own food preferences.

At this stage, don’t worry so much about what your child “should” be eating. Instead, focus on making eating a pleasant experience. It’s okay if they eat more on some days and less on other days. Your child won’t starve because of it! Remember to encourage instead of forcing your child to try new foods. Always avoid bribing or using food as a reward, but you can try some of these non-food rewards to encourage healthy eating.

Include your child in family meals by encouraging him or her to select foods from whatever is being served to the entire family, rather than making a separate “kids” meal you know he or she will eat. Acting as a short-order cook only reinforces picky eating behaviors.

Tips for Healthy and Fun Kids’ Meals

  • Make eating fun! Use cookie cutters to slice fruit and sandwiches, or come up with fun names to make foods sound appealing.
  • Plan your weekly menu to include a variety of foods. Eating is more fun when it involves new foods and flavors.
  • Offer water as the primary source of hydration for your child. You can make water fun by adding cucumber or fruit slices for a colorful and healthy fruit infused water.
  • Encourage your preschool age child to track the colors of their foods using the Super Crew Color Tracker.
  • Set aside specific times for family meals. Eating with your child is a great way to bond and model healthy attitudes toward eating. Set meal times in advance, and make family dinners a priority.

Healthy Sample Menu with Meals and Snack for Preschool Age

Meal Food

Servings from Food Groups


Cereal with Berries:
  • Cold whole grain cereal (1 cup if flakes or rounds, 1¼ cup if puffed)
  • ¼ cup berries
  • ½ cup skim milk or calcium-fortified unsweetened organic soy milk or coconut beverage milk*
  • 1 ounce grains
  • ½ cup fruit
  • ½ cup dairy*


PB and Banana:
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or nut butter
  • ½ cup fruit
  • 1 ounce protein


Turkey and Cheese Quesadilla:
  • 1-ounce nitrate-free sliced turkey breast
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese*
  • 2 small whole wheat tortillas (6-inch diameter)
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes

Carrots Sticks and Dip:

  • ½ cup carrot sticks
  • low fat-ranch dip made with Greek yogurt
  • 2 ounce grains
  • 1 ounce protein foods
  • ¾ cup vegetables
  • ½ cup dairy


Pears and Yogurt:
  • ¾ cup plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt*
  • ¼ cup pears (chopped or pureed)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of flax meal or a few chopped walnuts or almonds (if your child does not have a nut allergy)
  • ¾ cup dairy
  • ¼ cup fruit


Teriyaki Salmon Stir Fry:
  • 1-ounce salmon
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup broccoli
  • ¼ cup zucchini
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup milk*
  • 1 ounce grains
  • 1 ounce protein foods
  • ¾ cup vegetables
  • ¾ cup dairy

*Use low-fat or nonfat milk or yogurt, and low-fat or reduced-fat cheese ½

Needs from Each Food Group

The recommendations from Choose My Plate for a 4-year-old requiring 1200 calories include the following:

  • Grains: 4 ounces
  • Vegetables: 1½ cups
  • Fruit: 1 cup,
  • Dairy: 2½ cups
  • Protein Foods: 3 ounces

Preschool Nutrition Needs

Our guidelines for dairy are based on USDA MyPlate recommendations. However, some experts disagree on how much dairy is needed. It’s still not clearly evident if we need as many servings as recommended. Some experts recommend limiting dairy to 1-2 servings a day while boosting other calcium sources such as fortified juices and nut milk, sardines, anchovies, kale, collard greens, or bok choy. The best way to build bones is to consume adequate calcium and vitamin D, and get enough exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, in childhood and adulthood.

For more sample meal plans, read our Sample Daily Menu for a 3-Year-Old Child, Sample Day of Meals for a 2-Year-Old Child, and Sample Daily Menu For A 1 Year Old Child.

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Sample Meal Plan for Feeding Your Preschooler (Ages 3 to 5)


Many dietitians offer services virtually and they are covered by most employee health benefit plans. Find a dietitian here.

Need some ideas to feed your preschooler?  Use these sample meal plans and tips on healthy eating to help you feed your little one.

What should I feed my preschooler?

Preschoolers between the ages of 3 and 5 are able to eat a variety of healthy foods. Offer your child the same foods that the rest of the family eats. Offer foods with different tastes, textures and colours according to Canada’s Food Guide.

How much should my preschooler eat?

Let your child decide how much to eat from the foods you offer. Do not force your child to eat or restrict the amount of food you allow them to eat. Some days they might eat more. Some days they might eat less. A child’s appetite can change from day to day.

Use the sample meals below as general guidelines only. Plan meals and snacks around the same time each day so your child will be hungry when it’s time to eat.

Sample Meals for Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years old

Sample Menu 1 


Mini mushroom omelettes or breakfast cups
Strawberries and banana slices

Morning Snack

Quark and berries parfait


Cream of parsnip and carrot soup
100% whole wheat unsalted crackers or pita bread
Raw vegetables (carrots, celery sticks, red pepper slices) with salad dressing for dipping

Afternoon Snack

Apple slices with nut butter or cheddar cheese


Mini meatballs
Whole wheat pasta with tomato and vegetable pasta sauce

Bedtime Snack

Granola and fruit bites

Sample Menu 2 


Oatmeal pancakes with apple sauce

Morning Snack

Yogurt and fruit smoothie


Tuna grilled cheese or mini sandwiches on multigrain bread or whole wheat crackers
Cucumber slices with dip
Orange wedges

Afternoon Snack

Hummus with raw vegetables (carrots, celery sticks, red pepper slices) baked tortilla chips or whole wheat pita bread


Tofu vegetable stir fry with brown rice 

Bedtime Snack

Chocolate and almond bliss bars

Children and high mercury fish

For children between one and four years of age limit frozen/fresh tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy and escolar to 75 grams per month. These fish contain high levels of mercury. Young children between five and 11 years of age can have up to 125 grams of these large, predatory fish per month.

For children between one to four years of age limit albacore (“white”) canned tuna to 75 grams per week. Young children between five and 11 years of age can consume up to 150 grams or albacore (“white”) tuna per week. Albacore ("white") canned tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. 

Tips for feeding your preschooler (3 to 5 years)

  • Let your child decide what and how much to eat from the foods your offer. Continue to offer a variety of familiar foods and new foods at each meal.
  • Always supervise your child while eating. Cut foods into bite size pieces to avoid choking.
  • You can switch from full fat milk (3.25%) to skim, 1% or 2% milk. Fortified soy, rice, almond or coconut beverages can also be introduced at this age. Use this chart to see the nutrients in different milks and beverages.
  • Offer water between meals. Sipping on milk or juice between meals can decrease appetite. If you give your child juice, offer 100% fruit juice and limit it to 4 - 6 oz (125-175 mL) a day.
  • Eat meals and snacks prepared at home more often. Prepare healthy homemade recipes. Try chicken tacos, vegetarian chili and fruit and oatmeal muffins.

Bottom Line

It is normal for young children to refuse to eat new foods, change their minds about foods they ate before, or want the same food every day. Continue to have meals and snacks at the same time each day and include a variety of foods. 

Continue to offer food without pressure. You are responsible for what foods are offered, when and where. Your child is responsible for if they eat and how much.

If you have questions or concerns, talk to your health care provider or dietitian.

You may also be interested in:

How to Build a Healthy Preschooler (3 to 5 years)
Picky Eating: 10 Fun Tips to Get Kids to Try New Foods
Cooking with Kids of Different Ages

Last Update – May 16, 2022

how to feed a child aged 3-7 years - "Healthy Child Internet Cabinet"

Nina Anatolyevna Toritsyna

Chief Children's Dietitian of the Health Department of the Administration of Yekaterinburg

From birth, the baby, along with food, receives useful substances that form it immunity and ensure normal development. At preschool age, proper nutrition is also very important so that the child can endure school loads comfortably, be healthy and active in the future.

Most children aged 3 to 7 spend most of their time in kindergarten, which is responsible for organizing a balanced diet in accordance with age. It is necessary to observe the principles of rational nutrition at home:

Important: strict adherence to the diet!

  • the menu should be varied;
  • nutrition should supply the child's body with energy, trace elements, vitamins and other useful substances;
  • food must be properly handled and prepared (boiled, steamed, stewed, baked).

In order for the child to grow up active, mobile and healthy, it is important for parents to provide his menu with the main useful substances and monitor the sufficient number of calories :

3 years 4-6 years 7 years 900 32 9004

Where are kept


Animal proteins: meat, fish, milk and dairy products, eggs. Vegetable proteins: bread, cereals, legumes, vegetables


Butter and vegetable oil, milk and dairy products, meat, fish


Sugar, fruits, confectionery

In addition to the above nutrients, the child should receive trace elements and minerals . They are responsible for the proper development and functioning of the whole organism.

Table of the average daily norm of the physiological need of the body for the main micro and macro elements




(products containing the element)

Daily allowance for children 3-7 years old


Formation of bones and teeth, blood coagulation systems, processes of muscle contraction and nervous excitation. Normal heart function.

Milk, kefir, fermented baked milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.

800-1100 mg


Participates in the construction of bone tissue, the processes of storage and transmission of hereditary information, the conversion of the energy of food substances into the energy of chemical bonds in the body. Maintains acid-base balance in the blood.

Fish, meat, cheese, cottage cheese, cereals, legumes.

800-1650 mg


Synthesis of protein, nucleic acids, regulation of energy and carbohydrate-phosphorus metabolism.

Buckwheat, oatmeal, millet, green peas, carrots, beets, lettuce, parsley.

150-250 mg

sodium and potassium

They create conditions for the emergence and conduction of a nerve impulse, muscle contractions and other physiological processes in the cell.

Table salt is sodium. Meat, fish, cereals, potatoes, raisins, cocoa, chocolate - potassium.

Not exactly established


A component of hemoglobin, the transport of oxygen in the blood.

Meat, fish, eggs, liver, kidneys, legumes, millet, buckwheat, oatmeal. Quince, figs, dogwood, peaches, blueberries, rose hips, apples.

10-12 mg


Necessary for normal hematopoiesis and metabolism of connective tissue proteins.

Beef liver, seafood, legumes, buckwheat and oatmeal, pasta.

1 - 2 mg


Participates in the construction of thyroid hormone, provides physical and mental development, regulates the state of the central nervous system, cardiovascular system and liver.

Seafood (sea fish, seaweed, seaweed), iodized salt.

0.06 - 0.10 mg


Essential for normal growth, development and puberty. Maintaining normal immunity, sense of taste and smell, wound healing, absorption of vitamin A.

Meat, ryaba, eggs, cheese, buckwheat and oatmeal.

5-10 m

A sufficient amount of vitamins in the daily diet of children is the key to the proper functioning of all vital processes.

Vitamins are practically not synthesized by the body itself, so parents must always control that they are supplied to the child in sufficient quantities with food. At the same time, their insufficient amount can cause a number of diseases.

Table of the average daily norm of the physiological need of the body for basic vitamins



Foods containing the vitamin

Daily allowance for children 3-7 years old

B vitamins

IN 1

Necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system, cardiac and skeletal muscles, organs of the gastrointestinal tract. Participates in carbohydrate metabolism.

Wholemeal bread, cereals, legumes (peas, beans, soybeans), liver and other offal, yeast, meat (pork, veal).

0.8 - 1.0 mg

IN 2

Maintains the normal properties of the skin, mucous membranes, normal vision and blood formation.

Milk and dairy products (cheese, cottage cheese), eggs, meat (beef, veal, poultry, liver), cereals, bread.

0.9 - 1.2 mg

AT 6

Supports the normal properties of the skin, the functioning of the nervous system, hematopoiesis.

Wheat flour, millet, liver, meat, fish, potatoes, carrots, cabbage.

0.9 - 1.3 mg

AT 12

Supports hematopoiesis and normal functioning of the nervous system.

Meat, fish, offal, egg yolk, seafood, cheese.

1 - 1.5 mcg

PP (niacin)

Functioning of the nervous, digestive systems, maintaining normal skin properties.

Buckwheat, rice groats, wholemeal flour, legumes, meat, liver, kidneys, fish, dried mushrooms.

10-13 mg

Folic acid

Hematopoiesis, body growth and development, protein and nucleic acid synthesis, prevention of fatty liver.

Wholemeal flour, buckwheat and oatmeal, millet, beans, cauliflower, green onions, liver, cottage cheese, cheese.

100-200 mcg


Regeneration and healing of tissues, maintaining resistance to infections and the action of poisons. Hematopoiesis, permeability of blood vessels.

Fruits and vegetables: rose hips, black currants, sweet peppers, dill, parsley, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, mountain ash, apples, citrus fruits.

45-60 mg

A (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid)

Necessary for normal growth, development of cells, tissues and organs, normal visual and sexual function, ensuring normal skin properties.

Liver of marine animals and fish, liver, butter, cream, sour cream, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, carrots, tomatoes, apricots, green onions, lettuce, spinach.

450-500 mcg


Participates in the processes of calcium and phosphorus metabolism, accelerates the process of calcium absorption, increases its concentration in the blood, provides deposition in the bones.

Butter, chicken eggs, liver, liver fat from fish and marine animals.

10-2.5 mcg


Antioxidant, supports the work of cells and subcellular structures.

Sunflower, corn, soybean oil, cereals, eggs.

5-10 mg

Thus, the diet of a preschool child should include all food groups.


It is best to make a menu for a child a few days in advance, so parents can make sure that it turns out to be varied and contains the necessary nutrients.

Here is a sample menu for children from 3 to 7 years old for week :

Day of the week




afternoon tea


Second dinner


Buckwheat porridge with milk
Coffee drink with milk
Bread with cheese

Juice or fruit

Shchi with sour cream
Meatballs with pasta
Dried fruit compote


Carrot-apple casserole
Tea with milk

Fermented milk product


Fish baked with vegetables
Mashed potatoes
Coffee drink with milk
Bread and butter

Juice or fruit

Vitamin salad
Vegetable soup
Homemade roast
Kissel from apples


Curd casserole
Tea with milk

Fermented milk product


Milk rice porridge
Coffee drink with milk
Bread and cheese

Juice or fruit

Beet-apple salad
Peasant soup
Meat cutlet
Boiled cauliflower
Kissel milk


Braised cabbage

Fermented milk product


Macaroni with grated cheese
Coffee drink with milk
Bread and butter

Juice or fruit

Green Pea Salad
Goulash with buckwheat porridge
Dried fruits compote

Cheesecake with cottage cheese

Vegetable stew
Boiled egg

Fermented milk product


Herculean milk porridge
Boiled egg
Coffee drink with milk
Bread and butter

Juice or fruit

Carrot-apple salad
Borscht with sour cream
Fish balls
Boiled potatoes


Cheese pancakes with sour cream
Tea with milk

Fermented milk product


Barley milk porridge
Coffee drink with milk
Bread with cheese

juice or fruit

Cabbage-apple salad
Boiled rice with vegetables, with meat
Kissel from fruit


Fritters (pancakes) with jam

Fermented milk product


Fish in Polish
Boiled potatoes
Coffee drink with milk
Bread and butter

Juice or fruit

Carrot salad
Chicken broth with croutons
Boiled chicken with rice and stewed beets
Rosehip decoction

Homemade bun

Vegetable casserole
Tea with milk

Fermented milk product

How to teach a child the correct behavior at the table?

From the age of 3, it's time to teach the baby to behave properly at the table. First of all, this will save him from the difficulties with food in kindergarten.

  1. The child should sit straight at the table without resting their elbows on the table.
  2. Teach your child how to hold and use a spoon, fork, and drink gently from a cup.
  3. The child should chew food thoroughly, chew with the mouth closed, and not talk while eating.
  4. Teach your child to first check if the food or drink is too hot, blow on the food if it is hot.
  5. Children should not be distracted by television or toys while eating. The child must be calm.
  6. Teach your child etiquette: say "thank you", get up from the table when he is allowed, wash hands before eating.

And remember: your personal example in everything is the main thing!

Proper nutrition of a child is a guarantee of health - Children's City Polyclinic No. 1

Every parent wants his child to grow up healthy, smart, happy.

From childhood, we must teach our children to choose from the variety of foods that are really good for health. The nutrition of children is somewhat different from the nutrition of adults. If the child's nutrition system is built correctly, then the child develops normally, both physically and mentally.

Make your child's daily diet a way of life for your family. There is no need to arrange constant lectures from this on the topic of what is useful and what is harmful. By actively communicating with your child, setting an example, you instill good eating habits.

Only good things should be said at the table. The situation should help the child to relax, then the appetite will be good and the mood will be friendly. Children can help you with serving and decorating dishes. When serving vegetables and fruits, ask the children what vitamins and minerals they contain and why they are so useful. In order to organize the proper nutrition of the child, you need to follow a few important rules:

Rule 1

Diet should be varied.

This is an important condition for the child's body to receive all the substances necessary for growth and development. Every day, the child's menu should include: fruits and vegetables; meat and fish; milk and dairy products; grain products (bread, cereals, cereals). Insufficiency or excess of food consumed by a child can adversely affect the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, contribute to metabolic disorders, increase overweight (even to various degrees of obesity) or lead to malnutrition.

If the child refuses to eat a healthy dish, invite him to experiment and make the dish unusual.

So, with the help of dried fruits and nuts, you can put a funny face on porridge, use ketchup and greens to draw a pattern on scrambled eggs, put mashed potatoes on a plate in the form of a snowman figure, etc.

What should not be used in children's nutrition:

  1. Offal other than liver, tongue, heart; blood, liver, raw smoked sausages.
  2. Deep-fried foods and culinary products, chips.
  3. Curds, condensed milk with vegetable fats.
  4. Kumis and fermented milk products containing ethanol (more than 0.5%).
  5. Cream confectionery containing vegetable protein.
  6. First and second courses based on fast food concentrates.
  7. Vinegar, mustard, horseradish, hot peppers and other hot spices and food products containing them, including hot sauces, ketchups, mayonnaises and mayonnaise sauces.
  8. Pickled vegetables and fruits.
  9. Natural coffee and carbonated drinks, apricot kernels, peanuts.
  10. Products, including confectionery, containing alcohol.
  11. Food products containing a large amount of food additives in their composition (information is indicated by the manufacturer on consumer packaging).
  12. Dry concentrates for cooking first and second courses (soups, Dosherak vermicelli, cereals).

Rule 2

Your child should eat regularly.

Children's diet is essential for the body's absorption of nutrients. Preschool children are recommended to eat 4-5 times a day, every 3 hours, at the same time, distributing the diet as follows: breakfast - 25%, lunch - 35%, afternoon snack - 15%, dinner - 25% . At school age, it is advisable to have four meals a day, every 4 hours with an even distribution of the daily ration: breakfast - 25%, second breakfast - 20%, lunch - 35%, dinner - 20%.

Try to stop snacking and teach your child to eat only at the table. If this still doesn't work, offer fruit, biscuits, juice for a snack - food that will help drown out hunger, but will not ruin your appetite.

Proper organization of meals at school in the form of hot school breakfasts and lunches in long-day groups, whose diet should be 50-70% of the daily norm, which parents, unfortunately, are not enough for are paying attention. Eating sandwiches, pizza, chips, chocolate bars is harmful because - this food is inferior in composition and also irritates the stomach, contributing to the development of gastritis.

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