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3 - 5 Years

Click to download a handy quick reference sheet for the beverage guidelines. (pdf)


  • 1% or fat-free milk
  • Water with no added sweeteners
  • 100% fruit and vegetable juices with no added sweeteners


  • 100% fruit and vegetable juices (with no added sweeteners) to no more than 1/2 cup (4 oz.) per day.

Not Recommended

  • Soft drinks
  • Sports/energy drinks
  • Sugary beverages including fruit based drinks with added sweeteners that contain less than 100% real fruit juice, sweetened iced teas, punch, etc.
  • Artificially sweetened beverages including diet soft drinks, teas, lemonade, etc.
  • Caffeinated beverages

Portion Size

Item Meals Snacks

Exempt from portion limit

100% Fruit
& Vegetable Juices with no added
No more than 1/2
cup (4 oz.) per day
1% or
fat-free milk
3/4 cup (6 oz.) 1/2 cup (4 oz.)


Why milk?
  • Low calcium intake is one of the more significant nutrient deficiencies identified in Healthy People 2010. Milk and milk products are high in nutritional value and provide calcium, protein, and Vitamin D for bone growth and development.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the daily consumption of milk, cheese, yogurt, and other calcium-rich foods to help build strong bones in all growing children and adolescents.

Why 1% or fat-free milk for children aged 2 years and older?
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends serving 1% or fat-free milk to children aged years and older.
  • 1% or fat-free milk contain as much calcium and Vitamin D as 2% and whole milk without the extra calories and saturated fat.

Why are sugary beverages not recommended?
  • Sports and soft drinks are high in calories and low in nutrients.
  • Consumption of sugary beverages is associated with:
    • Calcium deficiency because sugary beverages displace milk.
    • Overweight or obesity.
    • Tooth decay.

Why limit juice?
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting juice to one 4-ounce serving a day in younger children.
  • Excessive juice consumption may be linked to overweight or obesity.
  • Excessive juice consumption is associated with tooth decay and diarrhea in children.
  • Whole fruits and vegetables are preferred to juice because they provide nutrients and fiber that may be lost in the processing of juice.

Why no diet beverages or artificial sweeteners?
  • Children have little tummies and while diet and artificially sweetened beverages have few calories, they may displace the intake of more nutritious drinks such as 1% or fat-free milk that children need in order to grow.