What should children aged 4 to 8 eat in one day?

The Australian Government website, Raising Children, is a great resource for any parent looking for some reliable and credible information about raising a family. From development, play & learning, sleep, behaviour, health or nutrition and diet, this website is full of helpful information.

Raising Children is separated into appropriate age-related sections so it’s easy-to-find information relating to your child’s age from newborn through to teenagers and young adults. It can be so challenging navigating the needs of a child, especially when they’re going through a growth spurt, so we’ve decided to have a quick look at the nutritional requirements for children aged between four and eight years old.

We all know how difficult it can be to get children to eat sometimes and as parents we want to make sure they’re getting enough daily intake of the recommended vitamins and minerals to enable them to grow, learn and develop. Do you know how much food and what type of foods are appropriate for children aged four to eight years old?

Using the information from Raising Children, we’ve created a quick reference guide1:


Protein (lean meat, nuts & legumes)





1 ½ serves a day

1½ serves
a day

 1½-2 serves a day

4 serves
a day

4½ serves
a day

From this table, its’ easy to see what our children need to eat most – veges and mixed wholegrains. But what exactly constitutes one ‘serve’ of each?


1 serve =

Protein (lean meat, nuts & legumes)

1 serve =


1 serve =

Wholemeal grain

1 serve =


1 serve =

· 1 medium apple

· 1 banana

· 1 orange

· 1 pear

· 2 small plums

· 2 kiwi fruits

· 2 apricots

· 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)




· 65gm cooked lean beef, lamb, veal or pork

· 80gm cooked lean chicken or turkey

· 100gm cooked fish

· 170gm cooked tofu

· 2 large eggs

· 1 cup cooked lentils, chickpeas or canned beans

· 30gm (1½ tablespoons) peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds

· 1 cup milk (reduced fat)

· 1 cup calcium-fortified soy

· 2 slices of cheese

· ¾ cup (200 gm) yoghurt

· ½ cup ricotta cheese





· 1 slice of bread

· ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, noodles, quinoa or polenta

· ½ cup porridge

· ⅔ cup wheat cereal flakes

· ¼ cup muesli

· 1 crumpet or small English muffin





· ½ medium potato

· ½ medium sweet potato

· ½ cob or corn)

· ½ cup cooked vegies (broccoli, spinach, carrots, pumpkin)

· 1 cup green leafy

· 1 cup raw salad veges

· ½ cup cooked, dried or canned beans or lentils



When packing a lunchbox for your child, try and remember to include at least one item from each of the five food groups and keep it colourful so kids are excited to eat the food you pack. Remember, ‘eat the rainbow’.

If you’re unsure if your child is getting enough of the recommended servings, make sure you speak to your GP for qualified nutrition advice.


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