Nutrition for Kids – What to Put on My Kid’s Plate

Nutrition for Kids – What to Put on My Kid’s Plate

by | Oct 16, 2020 | Nutrition | 0 comments

Hi everyone!

Dr. Honda here. Who’s ready for Nutrition Part 2?! The last nutrition newsletter talked about division of responsibility. If you missed it, here’s a quick recap!

  • Parents’ Responsibilities: decide what, when and where to eat.
  • Child’s responsibilities: decide whether to eat and how much to eat.

Did any of you practice division of responsibility at home? If so, great! If not, that’s okay. It’s never too late to start!

Also last newsletter I shared a personal story about why nutrition is so important to me. I want to emphasize another reason why I love it so much: it’s a great component of preventative medicine. Think about it. Many of the diseases in adulthood can be contributed to poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle over many years. Diabetes Type 2. High blood pressure. High cholesterol. Coronary artery disease. Even some cancers!

The amazing thing about Pediatrics is Dr. Waipa and I can do whatever we can to help your keiki learn how to live a healthy lifestyle early. We like to prevent as much as possible. Helping with nutrition now can help your child so much in the future. However, don’t forget to let them enjoy their favorite foods as well! It’s all about balance.

Now for today’s topic…..drum roll, please…. MyPlate! Never heard of it? Perfect. This is a great learning opportunity.

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Remember the food pyramid?

Let’s go back in time for a bit. We all remember learning about the food pyramid. In 1992, this is what the food pyramid looked like ^^

The food pyramid changed in 2005 to look like this:

The major change was the addition of the person climbing stairs to emphasize exercise.

Then in 2011, the USDA introduced MyPlate. It’s actually a wonderful tool, and I show it to families quite often.

It really helps give a visual perspective on portion sizes for each food group.  And it also reminds me of something I have to keep working on personally. I’ll be the first to admit that eating healthy can definitely be hard at times.

So voila! Here it is.

It looks kind of boring, huh? Normally the graphic I show has pictures of food actually on it. I created our own just for all of you. It’s at the bottom of the newsletter 🙂


  • Notice that fruits and vegetables comprise half of the plate
  • Grains should only be a quarter of your plate.
  • Most people (including myself) switch the grains portions and fruit and vegetable portions, usually loading half our plate with rice. Next time you order a plate lunch, take note of how each food group is organized in each divided section.

What about my meat?

Here’s a fun activity:

  • Make a fist with your hand. That’s your serving size!
  • Have your child make a fist with their hand. That’s their serving size!

Okay, maybe that activity wasn’t that fun. But it’s a great visual! You see the purple section on the plate? Your meat in that purple section should only be the size of your fist.

What about my water?

  • Here are a few things I encourage:
    • Eliminate sugary drinks from the household (juice, soda, etc.)
    • Maintain hydration with water.
      • Drinking water can help with so many other things, including:
        • Constipation
        • Headaches
        • Concentration
      • How much water? Here’s an easy rule. It’s also on one of our Instagram posts!
        • At least one 8 oz cup for each year of age
          • 1 year old – 1 cup (8 oz)
          • 2 years old – 2 cups (8 oz each)
          • 3 years old – 3 cups (8 oz each).

Once they hit 8 years old, you could use the same 8 cups of water recommendation (64 oz total) for adults that I’m sure you’ve heard before.

If you have any other questions about MyPlate or your child’s overall nutrition, don’t hesitate to ask!

The next nutrition segment will focus on knowing which drinks and snacks are good for your child. I’ll also address what we do to screen and what to do if we ever mention things like high cholesterol, high triglycerides, or fatty liver. Stay tuned!

We’re here for you.

As always, with much aloha.
Keānuenue Pediatrics