Teaching Gardens-Nutritional Guidelines


AHA Dietary Recommendations
for children & adolescents
nutrition info with animals flowers and insects
The American Heart Association has dietary recommendations for children and adolescents to promote cardiovascular health:
  • Energy (calories) should be adequate to support growth and  development and to
    reach or maintain desirable body weight.
  • Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • Choose a variety of foods to get enough carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients.
  • Eat only enough calories to maintain a healthy weight for your height and build. Be
    physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.
  • Serve whole-grain/high-fiber breads and cereals rather than refined grain products. 
  • Look for “whole grain” as the first ingredient on the food label and make at least half
    your grain servings whole grain.
  • Serve a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, while limiting juice intake.
  • Each meal should contain at least one fruit or vegetable.
  • Introduce and regularly serve fish as an entrée. Avoid commercially fried fish.
  • Serve fat-free and low-fat (1%) dairy foods.
  • Drink less: sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g., soft drinks, sport drinks, fruit drinks, etc.) 
This eating pattern supports a child's normal development. It provides enough total energy and meets or exceeds the recommended daily allowances for all nutrients for children and adolescents, including iron and calcium.
*Calorie estimates are based on a sedentary lifestyle. Increased physical activity will require additional calories (based on gender and age): by 0-600 (delete-200) kcal/d if moderately physically active; and by 200-1,000 (delete-400) kcal/d if very physically active.

†For youth 2 years and older; adopted from Table 2.3, Table 2.4, and Appendix 7 of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition; http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp
Nutrient and energy contributions from each group are calculated according to the nutrient-dense forms of food in each group (e.g., lean meats and fat-free milk).

‡Milk listed is fat-free (except for children under 2 years). If 1%, 2% or whole-fat milk is substituted, this will use, for each cup,
19, 39 or 63 kcal of discretionary calories and add 2.6, 5.1 or 9.0 g of total fat, of which 1.3, 2.6 or 4.6 g are saturated fat. §Serving sizes are 1/4 cup for age 1, 1/3 cup for 2 to 3 years, and 1/2 cup for 4 years. A variety of vegetables should be selected from each subgroup over the week.

_Half of all grains should be whole grains.

¶For 1-year-old children, calculations are based on 2% fat milk. If 2 cups of whole milk are substituted, 48 kcal of discretionary calories will be used. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that low-fat/reduced fat milk not be started before age 2.

Teaching Gardens- Why - Curriculum Button
Teaching Garden Donate Now Button
Teaching Garden Watering Can


There are many ways to support the American Heart Association. Your donation will support programs, tools and resources to drive healthy eating habits.

Teaching Gardens Logo

Get the latest News and Blog Updates from AHA Teaching Gardens

Smiling Flowers and Sun Illustration
Social Media
Join our Teaching Gardens online community to see more, make friends and learn more about our many exciting and educational activities.