Welcome to the new ChooseMyPlate website! Please pardon our dust during this transition. We appreciate your patience.

MyPlate Tips for Preschoolers

The foods and drinks your preschooler has throughout the day are important for his or her health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy are a part of a healthy eating style and together provide the nutrients their bodies need. Limit the amount of added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat in your preschooler’s meals, drinks, and snacks. 

FruitsFruits – Focus on whole fruits

  • Serve a rainbow of choices. Fruit can be a quick and easy way to make meals and snacks healthier and more colorful. 
  • Choose from fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits. Purchase canned fruit in water or 100% fruit juice instead of syrup.
  • Limit fruit juice. While 100% fruit juice can be part of a healthy diet, it does not contain the dietary fiber found in other forms of fruit.
  • Offer raisins or other unsweetened dried fruit instead of chewy fruit snacks or strips, which usually contain very little fruit.

VegetablesVegetables – Vary your veggies

  • Serve a variety of colorful choices. Brighten children’s plates with red, orange, and dark-green vegetables.
  • Choose from fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables. Prepare and serve vegetables without added salt or solid fat.  
  • Try a dip. Kids love to dip their foods. Whip up a quick dip for veggies with yogurt and seasonings such as herbs or garlic. Serve with raw vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower.

GrainsGrains – Make half your grains whole grains

  • Make at least half their grains whole grains by offering 100% whole-grain cereals, breads, and pasta.
  • Vary the choices for whole grains. Rolled oats, oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa, wheat berries, and millet are whole-grain foods. 
  • Choose toppings wisely for toast, hot cereals, pasta, and rice. Instead of adding butter, stick margarine, and regular full-fat cheese, use vegetable oils, low-fat cheeses, or marinara sauce as toppings. 

Protein FoodsProtein Foods – Vary your protein routine

  • Choose a variety of protein foods such as seafood, beans, lean meats, poultry, and eggs. 
  • Limit highly processed poultry, fish, or meat (like hotdogs, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks). Even some “reduced-fat” meats and cold cuts, like sausage, bologna, and salami, may be high in saturated fat and sodium.
  • Add beans to children's favorite foods. Add beans and peas to tacos, casseroles, stews, pastas, and side dishes.  

DairyDairy – Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt

  • Serve unflavored, fat-free, and low-fat milks most often. They have less added sugar and fewer calories than flavored, whole, or reduced-fat milk. 
  • Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese provide much needed calcium. Try making a dip for fruits or vegetables from yogurt. 
  • Blend dairy into smoothies. Combine low-fat or fat-free yogurt with bananas and cocoa powder for a smoothie, or try milk, ice cubes, and frozen berries.