15 Feb 22 Article 01

How much food should my child be eating?

A child who is undernourished is at higher risk of falling ill more often as under nutrition impairs the immune system. Under nutrition can be due to lack of calories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, as well as a low intake of specific vitamins and minerals, but often it is a combination of these factors that leads to a lowered immunity.

It is usually not required to put a number into your growing child’s calorie consumption. Nevertheless, knowing how many calories your child needs in a day can help you plan your child’s nutritional intake and ensure that he/she in on the right track towards achieving optimal growth and health.

Food group Age
6 – 8 months 9 – 11 months 1 – 2 years
Cereals, cereal-based products and starchy vegetables 1½ cups porridge 2½ cups porridge 2 cups rice
Fruits ¼ slice papaya OR

1 small size banana

1 slice papaya OR

2 small size bananas

1 slice papaya OR

2 small size bananas

Vegetables 2 tablespoons cooked vegetables 4 tablespoons cooked vegetables 4 tablespoons cooked vegetables
Meat, poultry, fish and legumes 2 teaspoons any type of meat OR ¼ fish 2 teaspoons any type of meat OR ¼ fish OR egg yolk ½ medium size ikan kembung OR 1 egg
Milk Breastfeeding on demand Breastfeeding on demand Breastfeeding on demand OR

3 glasses of milk

Fats & oils 1 teaspoon added oil and fat 1½ teaspoons added oil and fat 1 teaspoon added oil and fat
Food texture Pureed/ mashed with a liquid consistency Finely chopped/ mashed foods and also some finger foods Chopped/ finger foods and slowly introduce family foods

Recommended food portion for children from 6 months through 2 years of age

It is preferably to give infants and young children freshly prepared home-cooked food without adding salt, sugar or sauces. Avoid giving chunks of hard food larger than ½ of your thumb nail and supervise children during mealtimes to avoid choking. In addition, it is important to provide children with foods high in protein, iron and zinc such as meat, poultry, fish or eggs every day. However, avoid giving egg white to babies aged below 1 year.

 

Food group Age
3 years 4 – 6 years 7 – 9 years (Girl)
Cereals, cereal-based products and starchy vegetables 2 3 5
Fruits 2 2 2
Vegetables 2 2 3
Meat, poultry, fish and legumes 1 ½ 2 2 ½
Milk 2 2 2

Recommended serving sizes for children of different age groups

 

 

 

 

Food group Age
7 – 9 years (Boys) 10 – 12 years (Girl) 10 – 12 years (Boy)
Cereals, cereal-based products and starchy vegetables 5 6 7
Fruits 2 2 2
Vegetables 3 3 3
Meat, poultry, fish and legumes 3 3 3 ½
Milk 2 2 2

Recommended serving sizes for children of different age groups

 

One serving of cereals, cereal-based products and starchy vegetables
Bee hoon, soaked 1½ cups
Macaroni, spaghetti 1 cup
Cream crackers 6 pieces
Bread 2 slices
Thosai (diameter: 20cm) 1 piece
Chappati (diameter: 20cm) 2/3 piece
Potato 2 small
Rice, cooked 1 cup
Rice porridge, plain 2 cups
Sweet potato/ yam/ tapioca 1 cup
One serving of fruits
Banana 1 small
Orange/ apple/ pear 1 medium
Papaya/ pineapple/ watermelon 1 slice
Prunes 3 pieces
Guava ½ whole
Grapes 8 pieces
Dates, dried 2 pieces
Raisin 1 dessert spoon
One serving of vegetables
Raw vegetables 1 cup
Cooked vegetables ½ cup
One serving of fish, poultry and meat
Eggs 2 whole
Lean meat 3 matchbox sizes
Chicken, drumstick 1 whole
Fish (ikan kembong/ selar) 1 medium
Fish (ikan tenggiri) 1 piece
Squid 2 medium
Prawn 12 medium
One serving of legumes
Chickpea/ dhal 1 cup
Firm tofu (tau kua) ½ piece (60 g)
Soft tofu ¾ piece (90 g)
Unsweetened soybean milk 1 ½ glass
Tempeh 1 piece (45 g)
One serving of milk and dairy products
Cheese 2 thin slices
Milk 1 glass
Milk powder 4 rounded tablespoons
Yogurt, plain 1 cup

One serving food portion for different food group

Note:

1 cup = 200 mL

1 glass = 250 mL

1 dessertspoon = 10 mL

1 tablespoon = 15 mL

 

It is important to remember that eating a variety of foods keeps our meals interesting and flavourful. It is also the key to a healthy and balanced diet because each food has a unique mix of nutrients. Ensure that the daily diet consists of foods based on the Malaysian Food Pyramid and vary food choices within each food group during meals. Reduce fats, oils, salt, sugar and flavour enhancers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sauces (e.g. soya sauce) and flavouring cubes in cooking.

 

References:

  1. Pemakanan Bayi Dan Kanak-Kanak Kecil: Bahagian Pemakanan. Pemakanan Bayi dan Kanak-Kanak Kecil | Bahagian Pemakanan. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://nutrition.moh.gov.my/pemakanan-bayi-dan-kanak-kanak-kecil/
  2. Nutrition Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia. (2013). Malaysian dietary guidelines for children and adolescents.
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