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Children's Menus: A Balancing Act : Hospital Dietitian Offers Ideas for Various Age Groups

June 29, 1986|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Here are some sample children's menus designed by Linda Brown, registered dietitian at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, to help parents better understand the importance of a balanced diet within the calorie requirements for each age group. The menus can be incorporated into a family menu plan.

Using the sample as a basis for other menus, sandwich fillings may be varied and meats may be substituted with poultry, fish or shellfish. Other fruits or juices may be offered in place of those given.

Snacks offered as part of the daily diet or as a source of extra energy (calories) for active children may include such foods as fruits; fruit juices; raw, cut vegetables; cheese and crackers; plain or sweet breads; rolls or muffins; dry cereal; peanut butter and jelly; hard-cooked eggs; yogurt, and custards.

Milk or Milk-Based Products

Milk products are considered the best source of calcium for building bones and tissue needed by growing children. Good substitutes for the calcium received from one cup of milk are: one cup yogurt, 1 cups cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups ice cream, 1 ounces (one-third cup grated) natural cheese, 1 3/4 ounces processed cheese.

Both whole or low-fat milk are given as alternatives in the menus. Consult a pediatrician on the age to start low-fat milk. Neither low-fat nor nonfat milk is recommended for children under 1 year of age, except in special cases.

Good substitutes for the protein contained in one ounce of meat are: one egg, one ounce of cheese, one-quarter cup of cottage cheese, one-quarter cup of peanuts, one-third cup of other nuts, one-half cup of cooked dry peas or beans, two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Fruits and vegetables are important for providing essential vitamins and minerals in the diet. It is important to include one Vitamin C source daily--good sources are citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe and tomatoes.

Every other day the diet should also include one high Vitamin A source, such as one dark leafy or orange vegetable (carrots, spinach, sweet potato, broccoli).

Toddler (2 to 3 years)

--Average daily calorie needs: 1,300

--Two cups milk (whole, skim, dry, evaporated, buttermilk and other dairy products)

--Two (one-ounce) servings of meat (meat, poultry, fish, organ, or meat substitute)

--Three servings of bread, cereal or grain

--Four servings or more (three tablespoons each when cut) of vegetables and fruit

BREAKFAST

1/2 cup oat-ring cereal

1/4 cup whole or low-fat milk

1/2 slice whole-wheat toast

1/2 teaspoon margarine

1/2 cup apple juice

SNACK

1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

2 graham cracker squares

LUNCH

1/2 tuna sandwich

1/4 cup steamed carrot coins

1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

1/2 peeled apple, cut in wedges

SNACK

1/2 cup fruit yogurt

1/2 cup grape juice

DINNER

1 baked chicken drumstick (about 1 ounce meat)

1/4 cup rice

1/4 cup green beans

1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

1/2 orange, cut in wedges

SNACK

3 wheat crackers with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

Preschool (4 to 6 years)

--Average daily calorie needs: 1,700

--Two cups milk (whole, skim, dry, evaporated, buttermilk or other dairy products)

--Two (1 1/2- to two-ounce) servings of meat (meat, poultry, fish organ meat or meat substitute)

--Four servings of bread, cereal or grain

--Four servings or more (one-quarter cup each) of vegetables and fruit

BREAKFAST

1/2 cup oat-ring cereal

1/4 cup whole or low-fat milk

1 slice whole-wheat toast

1 teaspoon margarine

3/4 cup apple juice

SNACK

3/4 cup low-fat milk

2 graham creaker squares

LUNCH

1/2 tuna sandwich

3/4 cup whole or low-fat milk

1 medium apple

1 oatmeal cookie

4 carrot sticks

SNACK

1/2 cup fruit yogurt

3/4 cup grape juice

DINNER

1 baked chicken drumstick (about 1 ounce)

1/2 tomato with 1 tablespoon Thousand Island Dressing

1/4 cup rice

1/4 cup green beans

1 orange

3/4 cup milk

SNACK

3 wheat crackers with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

3/4 cup whole or low-fat milk

Elementary School (7 to 10 years) and Teen-Age Girls

--Average daily calorie needs: 2,400

--Three to four cups milk (whole, skim, dry, evaporated, buttermilk and other dairy products)

--Two (1 1/2- to two-ounce) servings of meat (meat, poultry, fish, organ meat or meat substitute)

--Four servings or more of bread, cereal and grain

--Four servings (one-third cup each) of vegetables and fruit

BREAKFAST

1 cup oat-ring cereal

1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

1 slice whole-wheat toast

1 teaspoon margarine

1 cup apple juice

LUNCH

1 tuna sandwich

4 carrot sticks (1/2 raw carrot)

1 cup whole or low-fat milk

1 medium apple

1 oatmeal cookie

SNACK

1 cup fruit yogurt

1 cup grape juice

2 graham cracker squares

DINNER

2 baked chicken drumsticks (about 2 ounces meat)

1/2 cup rice

1/2 cup green beans

1/2 tomato, sliced, with 1 tablespoon Thousand Island dressing

1 whole-wheat dinner roll

1 teaspoon margarine

1 cup whole or low-fat milk

1 medium orange

SNACK

2 cups popcorn with 1 tablespoon margarine

1 cup lemonade

Teen-Age Boys (11 to 18 years)

--Average daily calorie needs: 2,700 calories

--Three to four cups milk (five to six cups for pregnant girls)

--Two (two- to three-ounce) servings of meat (meat, poultry, fish, organ meats or meat substitute)

--Six servings or more for boys (four servings or more for girls) of bread, cereal and grain

--Four servings or more (one-half cup each) of vegetables and fruit

BREAKFAST

1 cup oat-ring cereal

1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

2 slices whole-wheat toast

2 teaspoons margarine

1 cup apple juice

LUNCH

1 tuna sandwich

8 carrot sticks (1 raw carrot)

1 cup whole or low-fat milk

1 medium apple

2 oatmeal cookies

SNACK

1 cup fruit yogurt

1 cup grape juice

4 graham cracker squares

DINNER

1 leg and 1 thigh of baked chicken (about 3 ounces meat)

3/4 cup rice

1/2 cup green beans

1/2 tomato, sliced, with 1 tablespoon Thousand Island dressing

2 whole-wheat dinner rolls

2 teaspoons margarine

1 cup whole or low-fat milk

1 medium orange

SNACK

2 cups popcorn with 1 tablespoon margarine

1 cup lemonade

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