While fussy eating or defiance around food is common at this age, it's still helpful to understand the current recommendations for a preschooler – even if they'll only eat jam sandwiches for dinner right now.

Between the ages of two and five, your child will gain two to three kilograms and grow 5-10cm in height. To support this change, their body needs the right fuel – that is, a balanced diet including healthy snacks.

To support all the changes in their growing bodies, kids need the right fuel.

Daily food requirements for children aged 4 – 8

The following are the recommendations from the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

  • Vegetables = 4.5 serves a day. Standard serve is about 75g = 1/2 cup cooked vegies; 1 cup salad vegies; 1/2 potato; 1 tomato.
  • Fruit = 1.5 serves a day. Standard serve is 150g = 1 apple, banana, orange or pear; 2 small apricots, kiwi fruit or plums; 1 cup canned fruit (no added sugar); 1/2 cup fruit juice (no added sugar); 30g dried fruit like sultanas.
  • Grain (cereal) foods = 4 serves a day. Standard serve = 1 slice bread; 1/2 roll or flat bread; 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta or quinoa; 1/2 cup cooked porridge; 2/3 cup wheat cereal flakes; 1/4 cup muesli; 1 crumpet or English muffin.

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  • Primary protein = 1.5 serves a day. Standard serve = 65g cooked lean meat; 80g poultry; 100g fish or 1 small can of fish; 2 large eggs; 1 cup legumes/beans; 170g tofu; 30g nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter, or tahini or other nut or seed paste.
  • Dairy (and non-dairy alternatives) = 2 serves (boys) or 1.5 serves (girls) a day. Standard serve = 1 cup milk or non-dairy 'milk' like soy; 1/2 cup evaporated milk; 2 slices hard cheese; 1/2 cup ricotta; 3/4 cup yoghurt.