The Kids Healthy Eating Plate provides children with a clear representation of how to choose healthy eating habits. Created by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Pubic Health, the Kid’s Health Food Plate is based off of the Healthy Eating Plate (also created by the Harvard School of Public Health), which addresses deficiencies in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s My Plate graphic. Instead of focusing only on the quantity of foods, it focuses on the importance of the type of proteins and carbohydrates children eat.
This visual teaches kids to fill half their plate with a colorful variety of vegetables and fruit, and to choose them as snacks as well. It also suggests splitting the other half of the plate between whole grains and healthy protein. Instructions along with the plate advocate choosing fruit over fruit juices, and foods made with minimally processed whole grains (100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta) over refined grains (white rice, white bread, pizza crust, white pasta).
Healthy proteins are explained as beans, peas, nuts, seeds, other plant-based healthy protein options, fish, eggs, poultry, and limited amounts of red meat (beef, pork and lamb). It is advised to avoid processed meats, such as bacon, deli meats, hot dogs and sausage.
Healthy fats are considered to be oils from plants, such as extra virgin olive oil, canola, oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil. It is advised to limit butter and saturated fats (especially from red meat) and to avoid trans fats (from partially hydrogenated oils).
Dairy is advised in small amounts and they advise choosing unflavored milk, plain yogurt, small amounts of cheese and other unsweetened dairy foods.
Water is the beverage that is suggested with every meal and snack, and during physical activity. It is advised to limit fruit juice to one small glass a day and to avoid sugary drinks (soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks).
Not only does the Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate include food, but it also demonstrates the importance of staying active. It suggests kids get at least one hour of physical activity per day, which can be as simple as playing at the playground.