• Correct Food Portion Sizes for Pinoy Kids 3 to 12 Years Old
    IMAGE Toshimasa Ishibashi/Flickr Creative Commons
  • Matamlay and maputla are adjectives parents don't like hearing when it comes to their child's health. “Even people who have plenty to eat may be malnourished if they don't eat foods that provide the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals,” according to KidsHealth. A balanced diet, coupled with adequate sleep and physical activity, help ensure your child is reaching his growth potential. 

    To guide you when it comes to meal time, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology developed “Pinggang Pinoy” -- food recommendations for every age group. If your child is between 3 and 12 years old, here's what you need to know about his diet:


    • The serving of vegetables should be as much as the meal’s serving of carbohydrates (or "go" foods, like rice). 
    • Veggies and rice (or other carbohydrates) combined will take up a little more than half of your child's plate. 
    • The serving of fruit should be as much as the serving of protein (or grow food, like chicken). 

    Serving portions
    Ideally, every meal should contain an adequate serving of each food group: rice, ulam, veggies, and fruit. However, as parents know well, this isn't always possible with a picky eater. When this happens, turn to merienda as a nutrition filler. “Snack time is prime time for a good serving of fruit!” said Renee Rose Rodrigo, US-certified holistic nutrition coach and contributor for Smart Parenting.

    Accompany each meal with a glass of water, and try to stay away from sweetened beverages like powdered juice or soft drinks. According to sugar recommendations, children should not have more than six teaspoons (or 25 grams) of sugar a day. The average 250mL juice box already contains 23 grams of sugar.

    Here's a breakdown of the food portion (scroll down for the definitions for "go" and "grow" foods)  

    Kids ages 3 to 5
    based on a 1,300-calorie diet

    Carbohydrates/Go foods

    • 1/2 cup of rice 
      Equivalent: 2 small pandesal; 2 slices of small loaf bread; 1/2 cup of cooked noddles; 1/2 medium piece of root crop

    Protein/Grow foods

    • 1/2 serving, about 15 grams, of lean meat (like chicken, pork or beef)
      Equivalent: 1/2 slice of a large fish (like bangus); 1/2 piece of small size, medium variety fish (like galunggong); 1/2 piece of small chicken egg; 1/2 piece of tokwa 

    Vegetables

    • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables 

    Fruit

    • 1/2 to 1 medium-sized fruit (like a banana)
      Equivalent: 1/2 to 1 slice of big fruit (like pineapple or papaya) 

    Liquids

    • 5 or more glasses of water a day
    • 1 glass of milk daily
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    Kids ages 6 to 9
    based on a 1,500-calorie diet

    Carbohydrates/Go foods

    • 3/4 cup cooked rice
      Equivalent: 3 small pandesal; 3 slices of small loaf bread; 3/4 cup cooked noodles; 3/4 medium piece of root crop

    Protein/Grow foods

    • 1/2 serving, about 15 grams, of lean meat (like chicken, pork or beef)
      Equivalent: 1/2 slice of large variety fish (like bangus); 1/2 piece of small size, medium variety fish (like galunggong); 1/2 piece of small chicken egg; 1/2 piece of tokwa 

    Vegetables

    • 3/4 cup cooked vegetables 

    Fruit

    • 1 medium-sized fruit (like a banana)
      Equivalent: 1 slice of big fruit (like pineapple or papaya)
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    Kids ages 10 to 12
    based on a 2,000-calorie diet

    Carbohydrates/Go foods

    • 1 cup cooked rice
      Equivalent: 4 small pandesal; 4 slices of small loaf bread; 1 cup cooked noodles; 1 medium piece of root crop 

    Protein/Grow foods

    • 1 serving, about 30 grams, of lean meat (like chicken, pork or beef)
      Equivalent: 1 slice of large variety fish (like bangus); 1 piece of small size, medium variety fish (like galunggong); 1 piece of small chicken egg; 1 piece of tokwa, about 6 x 6 x 2 cm

    Vegetables/Glow foods

    • 3/4 to 1 cup cooked vegetables 

    Fruit/Glow foods

    • 1 medium-sized fruit (like a banana)
      Equivalent: 1 slice of big fruit (like pineapple or papaya) 
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    Here’s a quick guide to the different food groups, and why your child needs a serving of each at every meal: 

    Go food
    This food group gives your child the energy he needs to run around and play. They're rich in carbohydrates which support bodily functions and physical activity. Examples are: rice, pasta, bread, corn, root crops, oatmeal

    Tip: If you can, go for whole grains like brown rice (as opposed to white rice), whole wheat bread (as opposed to white bread, like tasty) and corn. “These contain more fiber and nutrients,” according to the FNRI. 

    Grow food

    Aptly named, grow foods help your child grow big and strong. They contain protein, which is essential to the growth and repair of body tissues, including muscles, bones and body organs. Often times, this is your child’s ulam. Examples are: fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts

    Tip: Milk, dairy products, and small seafood like dilis and tiny shrimp are rich in both protein and calcium. Calcium builds strong bones and teeth  

    Glow foods
    Vegetables and fruit belong in this food group that provides the body with a range of vitamins and minerals. Glow foods also contain fiber for a healthy digestive system. 

    Tip: Different veggies and fruits have different health benefits, so try to serve your little one different kinds per week. Fruits in season are the sweetest, and they’re cheaper too!

    Happy eating!

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