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3 - 5 Years

Click to download a handy quick reference sheet for the fruit and vegetable guidelines. (pdf)


  • A variety of different fruits and/or vegetables should be offered at every meal.
    • Fresh or frozen fruits*
    • Fresh or frozen vegetables*
    • Canned fruits (in their natural juices or light syrup)
    • Canned vegetables with low sodium or no added salt.
    • Dried fruit and vegetables (choking hazard for children under 4 years old)
    • * Note: for children under age 4, cut into bite-size pieces and cook to prevent choking.


  • 100% fruit and vegetable juices to no more than 1/2 cup (4 oz.) per day.
  • Added fat, sugar, or sodium to fruits and vegetables

Not Recommended

  • Fruit-based drinks with added sugars
  • Fried vegetables and fried fruits

Portion Size

Item Meals Snacks
Fruits and Vegetables (non-fried) Exempt from portion-size upper limits: children may eat as many vegetables and fruits as they like.

At least 1/2 cup of each fruits &/or vegetables should be offered at each meal and snack.
100% Fruit
& Vegetable Juices with no added
No more than 1/2
cup (4 oz.) per day


Why are fruits and vegetables important?
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumption of a variety or fruits and vegetables daily. The current recommendation is at least servings of fruits and servings of vegetables per day.
  • Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that may protect against many chronic diseases for children in this age group.
  • They are high in fiber.
  • They help children feel fuller longer.
  • They provide children with the opportunity to learn about different textures, colors, and tastes.
  • They help children potentially develop life-long healthy eating habits.