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Sample meal plan for feeding your preschooler (ages 3 to 5)



Need some ideas to feed your preschooler?  Use these sample meal plans and tips on healthy eating to help you feed your little one.

What should I feed my preschooler?

Preschoolers between the ages of 3 and 5 are able to eat a variety of healthy foods.  Offer foods from each of the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide every day.  Try to include at least three of the four food groups at each meal.  Include at least two food groups at snacks.

How much should my preschooler eat?

Let your child decide how much to eat from the foods you offer.  Do not force your child to eat or restrict the amount of food you allow him to eat.  Use Canada’s Food Guide to help you plan meals and snacks based on the recommended number of servings from each food group. The chart below tells you how many servings from each food group are recommended each day based on your child’s age.  Refer to Canada’s Food Guide for examples of Food Guide serving sizes.

Food Group

Number of Food Guide Servings

 

Age 2 and 3

Age 4 and 5

Vegetables and Fruit

4

5

Grain Products

3

4

Milk and Alternatives

2

2

Meat and Alternatives

1

1

What does a typical meal plan look like for a preschooler?

Use the sample meals below as general guidelines only.  Plan meals and snacks around the same time each day so your child will be hungry when it’s time to eat.


Sample Meals for Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years old

Sample 1 

Breakfast

Egg sandwich: 

  • Whole grain bread or whole wheat English muffin
  • Egg mixed with mayonnaise
  • Cheese
  • Tomato slices

Skim or 1% milk

Morning Snack

Berries
Plain, vanilla or fruit yogurt
Water

Lunch

Rice and bean soup
100% whole wheat unsalted crackers
Carrot and celery sticks with salad dressing for dipping
Milk

Afternoon Snack

Apple slices thinly spread with nut butter or soy butter
Water

Dinner

Mini meatballs
Whole wheat pasta with tomato and vegetable pasta sauce
Milk

Bedtime Snack

Cottage cheese
Canned or fresh pineapple


Sample 2 

Breakfast

Shredded wheat cereal with milk
Strawberries and banana slices
Milk

Morning Snack

Fresh or canned mango or peach slices
Plain, vanilla or fruit yogurt
Water

Lunch

Tuna* or egg salad on whole wheat tortilla or flatbread
Cucumber slices with salad dressing for dipping
Orange wedges
Milk

Afternoon Snack

Hummus
Red pepper slices and carrot sticks
Water

Dinner

Chicken, shrimp or tofu vegetable stir fry 
Brown rice
Milk

Bedtime Snack

Yogurt and fruit smoothie 

*Read Get the real scoop on fish and mercury to find out about the types and amount of fish that are safe for preschoolers.

Tips for feeding your preschooler (3 to 5 years)

  • Eat meals and snack prepared at home more often.  Prepare healthy homemade recipes.  Try cheesy chicken crunchie quesadillas, mini pizza sandwiches and mac and “squeeze”.
  • Let your child decide what and how much to eat from the foods your offer. It is normal for young children to refuse to eat new foods, change their minds about foods they ate before, or want the same food every day.  Continue to offer a variety of familiar foods and new foods at each meal. 
  • Offer water between meals.  Sipping on milk or juice between meals can decrease appetite.  If you give your child juice, offer 100% fruit juice and limit it to 125-175 mL (4-6 oz) a day.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s eating, call EatRight Ontario to speak with a Registered Dietitian at 1-877-510-5102 or send an email.

You may also be interested in:

How to Build a Healthy Preschooler (3 to 5 years)
Cooking with Kids

Last Update – March 30, 2017

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If you have questions about what you've read here, or other questions about food, nutrition or healthy eating, click to email our Registered Dietitians or call 1-877-510-5102.