Diet plan for 8-year-old boys should take into consideration several factors, such as his age and height, and the activity levels that he will be engaged in on a daily basis. An underweight child must follow a diet plan to gain weight, while the overweight child must follow a diet plan to lose weight. The main objective of an 8-year-old boy’s diet plan is to ensure that he gets adequate nutrients for healthy growth and development.
Healthy Meal Plan for Kids – 7 to 8 Years Old
Looking for a simple but healthy meal plan for kids? Try this menu for creative yet easy options for a quickly growing 7-8-year-old!
By this age, kids’ activity levels can vary widely. You may have a quiet reader, a sports fanatic, or someone in between. You’ve also probably noticed that appetite varies as growth spurts come and go. Weren’t your son’s pants long last week?! Either way, by adjusting to hunger and focusing on a healthy, high-quality, and varied diet, you’ll keep your little guy fueled for all his busy activities. And don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s never too early (or too late) to expand your child’s palate with new flavors and foods. Start by trying this colorful, healthy meal plan for kids.
Portion Size Targets in Healthy Meal Plan for Kids
For reference, keep these daily targets in mind! If you’re curious how these portion sizes change for different ages and genders, take a look at Food Portion Sizes for Toddlers, Kids, and Teens.
- Protein: 4 oz. equivalents
- Fruit: 1-1.5 servings
- Vegetables: 1.5 servings
- Grains: 5 oz. equivalents
- Dairy: 2.5 servings
- Oils: 4 tsp.
Breakfast: Green Monster Smoothie
Do you struggle to get greens into your little “monster”? This smoothie will help! Plus, the healthy fats from avocado and chia seeds give it staying power.
The freezer is an excellent repository for those overripe bananas you’d otherwise toss, and they blend perfectly with the greens. If you aren’t used to adding avocados to smoothies, don’t worry! Your little one will love the added creaminess.
- 1 cup unsweetened soymilk or low-fat milk
- 1 cup spinach or kale
- ⅙ medium Hass avocado
- ½ cup of frozen strawberries
- ½ frozen banana
- 1-2 ice cubes
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- Dash of cinnamon
- Pour milk or milk alternative into the blender.
- Add fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and ice cubes.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour and top with cinnamon and chia seeds.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
(1 dairy, ½ veg, 1 fat, 1 fruit, 1 pro, 1 pro or 1 fat)
Looking for more tasty breakfast ideas – check out our new Super Crew Breakfast Cookbook with 50 tasty breakfast ideas and 100 nutrition activities to inspire and teach your kids!
Snack #1: Almond Butter English Muffin
If your child is especially active and needs a little more energy, opt for the added fruit! A healthy meal plan for kids involves balanced meals and snacks.
- ½ Whole-wheat English Muffin
- 1 Tbsp. almond butter
- ¼ cup raisins (optional)
- Toast English muffin.
- Top with 1 Tbsp. almond butter.
- Add ¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit to the muffin or serve on the side.
(1 grain, 1 protein or fat, ½ fruit (optional))
Anything that can be devoured sans knife and fork can be a win with rambunctious boys! But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on wholesomeness. This bean burrito is plant-based and filled with flavor.
- 6” whole-grain tortilla
- ¼ cup canned black beans (rinse beans to reduce sodium by 20%)
- ¼ cup of salsa
- ⅓ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 baby carrots
- Warm tortilla in pan on low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or microwave (for about 30 seconds).
- Heat beans in a small saucepan on medium heat.
- Spoon beans onto the warmed tortilla
- Top with salsa and shredded cheese.
- Serve and enjoy with a side of baby carrots!
(1 grain, 1 protein, 1 vegetable, 1 dairy)
Snack #2: Holy Guacamole Deviled Egg with Red Pepper and Whole-wheat Crackers
Swapping out the mayonnaise for guacamole makes this an easy snack that you can feel good about. Pair with baby carrots or your kids’ other favorite chopped vegetables for a balanced snack. Hard-boiled eggs can be made ahead of time, peeled, and stored in water in the fridge so you can minimize prep time during a busy week. Healthy meal plans for kids don’t have to be stressful!
- 1 hardboiled egg
- 2 Tbsp. guacamole
- Dash of paprika
- ½ cup julienned red pepper
- 5-10 whole-wheat crackers
- Slice egg in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the yolk, place in a bowl, and mix with guacamole.
- Sprinkle paprika on top for extra color and zing!
- Enjoy egg with a side of red pepper and whole-grain crackers.
(1 pro, 1/2 fat, ½ veg, 1-2 grain)
Dinner: Pirate Pasta
- ½ cup whole wheat or green lentil pasta shells*
- 2 oz. peeled and deveined shrimp (uncooked or precooked frozen)
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- ½ cup sautéed zucchini (or shredded into the sauce)
Tip! *Add a serving of ½ cup cooked pasta if your child is especially active, is at the higher end of the age bracket, or seems to have higher energy needs.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While it’s cooking, add 2 oz. shrimp into a small saucepan with a little oil on medium heat.
- Cook shrimp until white and no longer translucent. If you buy pre-cooked frozen shrimp, heat according to package instructions.
- Heat pasta sauce on medium heat until at desired temperature, about 3 minutes.
- Add grated zucchini (yellow squash and carrots also work well).
- Strain pasta and mix with sauce and shrimp.
- Serve and enjoy!
(1-2 servings grain, 2 oz. protein, 1 vegetable)
Dessert: Chocolate Pudding
- 1-2 Tbsp. chia seeds
- ½ cup 2% milk or milk alternative
- ½ Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. sweetener of choice, such as honey, maple syrup, or agave
- Combine all ingredients in a jar, large mug or bowl and mix well.
- Let sit for at least 15 minutes. The longer you wait, the more pudding-like it becomes.
(1/2 serving dairy, 1-2 servings oil equivalents)
Daily Totals for a Healthy Meal Plan for Kids
This day of meals provides:
- 5.5 oz. protein
- 2 fruit servings
- 3 vegetable servings
- 4-6 oz. grains
- 2.5 dairy servings
- 3-4 equivalents oil
Why Does Healthy Kid Food Matter?
There are several reasons why this is important for growing children.
First, offering a balanced diet of different foods ensures your child will receive the vast majority of his nutritional requirements for growth.
Secondly, the timing of meals and snacks help cover your child’s hunger and appetite so that she’s better able to regulate her eating.
In the end, healthy meal plans for kids helps them meet nutrient requirements while eating in a more intuitive and mindful manner.
That means eating for hunger rather than boredom, emotions, or other outside triggers.
Food Groups in a Kids Meal Plan
Food groups are the categories of food that target important, specific nutrients. There are five main food groups, which I will describe below.
Fats are an additional food group, but many foods already have fat included, so I generally don’t ask you to work this in, unless I feel there isn’t enough in your child’s usual eating patterns.
Fun Foods are a group I add to the mix so that you can explore the right balance of nutritious foods and indulgent foods.
5 Food Categories in a Meal Plan for Kids:
The fruit group and vegetable group (for brevity, placed together) target potassium, vitamins A and C, and fiber, among other nutrients.
The protein group covers iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and more.
The dairy group covers calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.
The grains group offer other important nutrients such as B vitamins and fiber.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
Plan a Healthy Meal for Children with a Strategy
The more food groups you include in a meal, the better chance your child gets an optimal variety of nutrients. Here’s how to do this strategically:
Step One: Choose Protein Foods
I teach my families to set up healthy meal plans using the five basic food groups, starting with protein first.
Protein is important for growth in children and for appetite control, so I like to see it take a starring role on the meal plan.
The protein food can be beef, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, soy, or it can be something from the dairy group (also a good source of protein) like milk or yogurt.
Step Two: Pick Fruits & Veggies
Second, pick fruit and vegetables. Yes, I like to see fruit on the table at all major meals.
Fruit takes the pressure off of eating veggies if you have a hesitant eater.
It’s also a great source of nutrients, and if your child has a sweet tooth, is a good stand in for dessert.
Step Three: Round Out with Whole Grains
Lastly, fill in the meal plan with (whole) grains and dairy (if it hasn’t been added yet).
Include all the food groups for a balanced nutrition plan and a healthy diet for your child.
[Need Recipe Inspiration? I’ve got my favorites in Dinner Ideas for Athletes!
What about Portion Sizes for Kids?
I believe that the table is where kids learn about portion sizes. I also believe that children should be allowed to eat to satisfy their appetite.
These two goals: learning about portions and eating to satisfaction (instead of fullness) can clash at the family table.
You never want portion sizes to become a restrictive way to feed your child.
That’s why I like to use the concept of starter portions.
Instead of focusing on portion control, the sentiment of a “starter portion” allows kids to reflect on their hunger and appetite.
These are the age-appropriate portion sizes for your child.
They help your child understand a good place to start with how much food to eat, while also understanding that more food, if hungry, is okay to have.
Let me repeat: Your child should be allowed to eat an array of food groups at mealtime, in amounts that satisfy her appetite.
Starter portions are simply a place to begin with food amounts.
Starter portions teach a point of reference for kids. Think of them as a visual learning tool.
Without them, kids may not understand what a normal portion size looks like, or may over-serve (or be over-served) food portions.
As kids grow, the starter portions change to accommodate their bigger bodies and growth requirements.
I like to see kids experimenting with measuring cups and spoons and other simple tools to help them learn.
How many calories does a child of 7 to 10 need?
Children aged 7 to 10 years old need lots of energy and nutrients because they’re still growing.
The amount of energy that food and drink contains is measured in both kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcal), and is commonly referred to as calories.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition estimates the average daily energy requirements for children aged 7 to 10 years old are:
|7||6,900kJ or 1,649kcal||6,400kJ or 1,530kcal|
|8||7,300kJ or 1,745kcal||6,800kJ or 1,625kcal|
|9||7,700kJ or 1,840kcal||7,200kJ or 1,721kcal|
|10||8,500kJ or 2,032kcal||8,100kJ or 1,936kcal|
Diet Chart For Kids
Kids are the one who tends to exhaust their energy by extensive physical activities. Kids are still in the high growth stage where consumption of a proper amount of nutrients is inevitable. Parents should consider providing nutrient-dense food which may include protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, etc. Diet for kids defines their energy level for the entire day and determines future body growth.
Diet for kids should be :
- It should be free from harmful calories like added sugar and trans fats.
- Kids need around 1000 – 1400 Kcal every day. However, as age increases, the required calories also increase.
- Kids should be given fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Fruits should be raw and nutrient-dense.
- Dark green and leafy, red and orange, beans and peas should be served for vegetables along with sprouts for
- Different types of grains should be given in order to have protection from any vitamin and nutrient deficiency.
- Fat-free or low-fat drinks should also be the part of the diet. Milk, 100% pure juice, etc. can boost the energy level.
- Dry fruits are rich sources of energy, they should be given based on the growth and activity level of the kids.
- The diet must not include fried food as it includes saturated and trans-fat which are harmful to a healthy growth.
- Artificial sweeteners should not be included in the diet.
- The diet should be balanced and should be catering to the needs of the kids.
Food Items To Limit
- Microwave popcorn
- Processed meats
- Canned Tomatoes
- Kid’s Yogurt
- Sugary Cereals
- Apple Juice
- Boxed Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- Fruit Snacks
- Sports Drinks
- Flash-Fried Frozen Finger Foods
- Raw Milk
Do’s And Dont’s
Do’s & Dont’s
- Do set a good example for your child to copy. Share mealtimes and eat the same healthy foods.
- Do discourage snacking on sweets and fatty foods. Keep plenty of healthy foods, such as fruits, raw vegetables, low-fat crackers, and yogurt, around for children to eat between meals.
- Do allow children to follow their natural appetites when deciding how much to eat.
- Do encourage children to enjoy fruits and vegetables by giving them a variety from an early age.
- Don’t give skim or 1-percent-fat milk to children under the age of 5 unless your doctor prescribes it; at this stage, children need the extra calories in whole milk.
- Do ask children to help prepare meals. If parents rely mostly on convenience foods, children may not learn to enjoy cooking.
- Don’t add unnecessary sugar to drinks and foods.
- Don’t accustom children to extra salt by adding it to food or placing the shaker on the table.
- Don’t give whole nuts to children under the age of 5, who may choke on them. Peanut butter and chopped nuts are fine as long as the child is not allergic to them.
- Don’t force children to eat more than they want.
- Don’t use food as a bribe.
- Don’t make children feel guilty about eating any type of food.
Food Items You Can Easily Consume
- Eggs : A fantastic source of protein, eggs are also one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.
- Dairy : Milk and milk products are important source of carbohydrates, protein and essential vitamins (A, B12, riboflavin and niacin) and minerals, such as – calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Oatmeal : Not only is oatmeal a rich source of protein, it has low fat content!
- Blueberries : It has been known to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and improve brain function.
- Nuts : An assortment of nuts can be a great source of vegetable protein, fiber, vitamins and ‘good’ fats that are important for the growth and development of your child.
- Fish : Fish is a great source of vitamin D & Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are super important for the proper functioning of your child’s brain and can also reduce the risk of many major diseases.
- All The Greens : Leafy vegetables are high in dietary fibre, folic acid, vitamin C and potassium, and can thus speed up digestion, improve bone health and reduce the risk of major diseases.