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What is healthy child nutrition?

What should children eat a lot of? What should they eat only a little of? We tell you what your child needs in terms of nutrition.
Richtig essen in der Schule

You can read this text in German or Polish as well.

What should children eat a lot of? What should they eat only a little of? We tell you what your child needs in terms of nutrition.


As soon as your child is 10 months old, it can eat the same food as the whole family. Little by little you can replace a pureed meal with a normal meal. Here you can read about what your baby needs in the first year of life.

What and how much does your child need?

Use the food pyramid as a guide when selecting foods. Each building block of the pyramid stands for one portion. The portion size is based on the size of your own hand. According to the motto "Small hands, small portions - large hands, large portions".

The food pyramid
The food pyramid: For children and adults (c) BLE


  • Drinks

Drinking a lot is important because our bodies cannot store liquid. Water or unsweetened tea is best. You can take water from the tap or from bottles. Your child can drink from a cup, a glass or a mug.
Drinks like iced tea, lemonade and juice contain a lot of sugar. Sugar is harmful to the teeth and has many calories. This can lead to obesity.

  • Vegetables and fruit

Vegetables and fruit are healthy and go well with every meal. Eat 3 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit every day. Some children like vegetables and fruit raw, others prefer them cooked or fried. Cut them into bite-sized pieces, but not too small so that your child does not choke. Many children love pieces that they can grab and bite off themselves.

  • Grains and potatoes

Grains make you feel full for a long time, especially wholegrains. Eat grains with your child several times a day. Grains can be found in various products: Bread, bread rolls, oatmeal, pasta, rice, … . Wholegrain products are the best choice. They contain many nutrients. Not a grain, but also popular: potatoes. These can be prepared in many different ways: boiled, fried or as mashed potatoes.

  • Milk and dairy products

Milk and dairy products contain a lot of protein and calcium. Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. Dairy products include yoghurt, quark and cheese, for example. Your child should eat milk and dairy products 3 times a day. 

Our tip: It is best to use low-fat milk and dairy products.

  • Meat, fish and eggs

We don't need meat, fish and eggs every day. Up to 3 times a week a small amount of meat or sausage is enough. In addition, you can eat fish 1 or 2 times a week and a maximum of 2 eggs per week. This already includes hidden eggs, for example in: cakes, pancakes and baked puddings.

  • Fats and oils

Use vegetable oil for cooking, such as: Rapeseed oil or olive oil. Rapeseed oil tastes more neutral than olive oil. Use fats and oils sparingly - 2 tablespoons a day is sufficient.

  • Sweets and snacks

As long as your child doesn't know about sweets, he or she won't miss them. Once your child has acquired a taste for them, she or he may eat small amount of sweets once a day. Quite deliberately after dinner. Sweets contain a lot of sugar. This can lead to obesity and damage the teeth.

When is a child under- or overweight?

Every child develops differently. Parents shouldn't worry too much at the beginning. There are developmental phases in which the child is sometimes broad and sometimes tall, depending on its age and growth. 
When your child learns to walk, the fat pads disappear and more muscles are formed. When they are toddlers, children often seem chubby. Between the ages of 5 and 7, your child grows and looks slimmer. Your child will gain weight from about the age of 8 to 10. 
Children develop well from the beginning if they eat according to the food pyramid. There are always times when children do not like certain foods or fruit and vegetables. It's normal. 
Reasons for being overweight are often due to munching many snacks between meals and drinking sweetened drinks. Too much fat and sugar is contained in many foods especially developed for children.

You should make an appointment with a Kinderarzt (paediatrician) if you're worried about your child’s weight. 

Book suggestion:Bärenstarke Kinderkost” (Fantastic Food for Kids) from the Verbraucherzentrale (in German)

Eating right at school

A balanced and varied selection of fresh food and regular meals helps your child to learn at school. The first breakfast at home and a second one during the break is good for concentration.

You can give this breaktime snack to your child to take to school: homemade sandwiches and colourful fresh vegetables to nibble on. Give your child water or tea without (added) sugar or flavour additives. Do not give your child sweet drinks, soft or energy drinks.

You can find ideas for the breaktime snack here (in German).

How do I cook a healthy hot meal for children if I only have a little money? 

Children should eat healthy and tasty food. Cook your own food: You don't need much for a balanced lunchtime meal. Cook with fresh ingredients that you buy at the market or supermarket. When buying fruit and vegetables, look out for seasonal fruit and vegetables, it does not always have to be organic.

The seasonal calendar is helpful to look up here (in German).

Once a week you can cook meat and fish. You can also cook a stew or casserole and a sweet milk dish quickly and cheaply. Each meal should be accompanied by a low-calorie drink, preferably drinking water.
Do not buy convenience foods (Fertigprodukte): We have investigated convenience foods for children: The products were too expensive, too salty and contained too much fat.