Balanced diet for young children

The Eatwell Guide is designed to show us how to achieve a healthy balanced diet containing all the key nutrients our bodies need. It does not apply fully to children under the age of 2 as they have specific nutritional needs however, between the ages 2-5 years, children will gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family.

The video details the message in The Eatwell Guide and how they apply to young children.

Healthy Food Song

Join in with the NYLO team as they sing about foods that keep our body healthy.

Fruit and Vegetables

This is one of the larger sections on the Eatwell guide so it is important children eat lots of these foods. They contain a range of vitamins and minerals as well as being a great source of fibre.

Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and other starchy carbohydrates

This group is also one of the larger sections of the Eatwell Guide and should be included with every meal and ideally as one snack. These foods provide the body with energy, fibre, B vitamins and some are fortified with iron.

Dairy and alternatives

This group includes foods such as milk, (including breast milk), cheese, yogurts and dairy alternatives. These foods are a great source of calcium which is needed for strong bones and teeth and are also a good source of protein.

Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins

These foods are a great source of protein. Protein is important for growth and building muscles which is especially important for children. They are also rich in iron and zinc.

Oils and spreads

This group contains unsaturated oils and spreads made from these oils. Unsaturated fats come from plant-based fats and are a healthier choice for our heart. Examples of these are vegetable oil, sunflower oil or olive oil and spreads made with these oils. This is the smallest section, so children only need a small amount of these foods.


Water and milk are the best fluids for children. They should aim for 6-8 drinks each day. On hotter days or when they are doing more physical activity, they may need more than this.

Foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar

The type of foods you’d find in this group are chocolate, butter, biscuits, cream, sweets, full sugar soft drinks, crisps, stock cubes and ice cream. It also includes fats such as butter, ghee, coconut oil and cream. This group is outside of the main Eatwell Guide as these foods are not essential in the diet, so should be eaten in small amounts and less often.

Tips to save time and money

Family life can be hectic, it can be difficult juggling different commitments and still having time to provide nutritious family meals. The video includes top tips on ways to feed your family well whilst saving time and money.