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The 34 Healthiest Foods For Kids

We've reinvented the food pyramid—and made it kid-friendly.

Here at Eat This, Not That! headquarters, we've reinvented the food pyramid—and made it kid-friendly.

The USDA has their pyramid, of course, but the iconic image young students learn so well in our school system leaves a lot to be desired in terms of specifics. According to it, a serving of white rice and quinoa both count the same toward the daily recommended six servings, despite the fact that one is packed with fiber, healthy fat, and essential amino acids (quinoa) and the other is a nutritional black hole (rice).

It's time for parental discretion. You just need to be sure they have the right building blocks. Let's start from the top, with fats and oils. Start making your grocery list now so you can also pack them the perfect lunch.


Eat This

Healthy fats: olive oil, canola oil, monounsaturated fats from nuts, avocado, salmon (Mom and dad, add these to your plate, too! Healthy picks like these are fatty foods that will help you lose weight.)

Not That!

Unhealthy fats: Stick margarine, lard, palm oil, anything with partially hydrogenated oil


(2 to 3 One-Cup Servings)

Eat This

2 percent milk, string cheese, cottage cheese, plain yogurt sweetened with fresh fruit (Make sure they're on the list of Eat This, Not That!-approved yogurt brands.)

Not That!

Chocolate milk, ice cream, hot cheese dip, yogurt with fruit on the bottom


Eat This

Grilled chicken breast, roast pork tenderloin, sirloin steak, scrambled, boiled, or poached eggs, stewed black beans, almonds, unsweetened peanut butter

Not That!

Chicken fingers, crispy chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, strip or rib-eye steak, peanut butter with added sugars



Eat This

Sautéed spinach, steamed broccoli, romaine or mixed green salads, roasted mushrooms, grilled pepper and onion skewers, baby carrots, tomato sauce, salsa, homemade guacamole

Not That!

French fries, potato chips, onion rings, eggplant parmesan



Eat This

Sliced apples or pears, berries, grapes, stone fruit like peaches, plums, and apricots, 100 percent fruit smoothies

Not That!

More than one 8-ounce glass of juice a day; more than a few tablespoons of dried fruit a day; smoothies made with sherbet, frozen yogurt, or added sugar



Eat This

Brown rice, whole grain bread, quinoa, whole grain pasta, oatmeal

Not That!

White rice, white bread, pasta, muffins, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, heavily sweetened cereal

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Eat This, Not That! Editors
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more
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