Kids Nutrition: How to Take Care of Their Nutritional Needs

Kids nutrition allude to everything that a child eats or drink. Children need proper nutrition to stay healthy, grow normally and be active. If foods, specially high energy yielding are eaten more than needed, then it can be stored as body fat. Dietary habits developed in childhood normally carry into adulthood.

Kids Nutrition

In our previous post we discussed about taking care of your baby’s nutritional needs. It’s very important that as parents we set proper example and provide them with proper nutrition to help them stay healthy the rest of their life.

Benefits Of Appropriate Nutrition For Kids 

  • Fit weight for height
  • Appropriate energy level
  • Good mental health
  • Strong muscles and bones
  • Good immunity against disease and sickness
  • Quicker recovery from illnesses and injuries

Kids age range can be divided into

  • Toddlers 1-3 years
  • Preschoolers 3-5 years
  • School children 6-12

kids nutrition

Toddlers And Preschoolers

  • Kids in this age bracket are dynamic, perky tykes.
  • They are growing
  • Because of their high activity level, their energy requirements are relatively higher as compared to their body size.
  • Even this age kids can be expected to be opinionated about their eating.
  • Kids should be part of family meals to cultivate table manners, nurture language development and enrich conversation skills.
  • Minimise the distractions like watching TV and gadgets etc by turning them off to foster meaningful relationship.
  • Encourage self eating which can be messy and chaotic. Relax and let them be independent to keep mealtime stress at minimum.
  • Monkey see, monkey do. Eat yourself healthy food to encourage them to learn healthy eating.
  • To avoid tooth decay, discontinue bottle after the age of 1 and start giving milk from cup or free flowing beaker.

Snacks

  • Give nutritious snacks between meals in your little ones diet like
  1. Milk shakes
  2. Sandwiches
  3. Fruit slices
  4. Salads like cucumber, carrots etc
  5. Flavored yogurts
  6. Plain milk
  7. Whole grain crackers
  8. Hard boiled egg
  9. Cheese sticks
  10. Raisins
  11. Dates
  12. Ready to eat apricots
  13. Fish fingers
  14. Grilled or baked chicken piece
  15. Soup etc
  • Starchy foods like potato, pasta, rice and bread should be given at each meal and some snack times to meet their energy requirements for growth and activities.
  • Fruits and vegetables consumption should be encouraged and served with meals and as snacks too like
  1. 1/4 – 1/2apple
  2. Slices of orange
  3. Cubes of melon
  4. 1/2 -1 banana
  5. 2 tablespoons of peas/sweetcorn
  6. Carrots fingers
  7. 1-4 cherry tomatoes etc
  • Milk and milk products are important for kids for their bone development and also to provide other essential nutrients too.
  • 300ml of milk is recommended for 1-3 years old kids or 3 servings/day of dairy foods.
  • It is recommended to give full fat milk to kids under age of 5. If they are eating a balanced diet then semi skimmed milk can be introduced from 3 years onwards.
  • Foods with high fat and sugar content should not be given too often as they can cause weight gain and tooth decay.
  • Researches suggest that too much consumption of sugary foods can hinder growth.
  • Avoid adding extra salt to kids foods as it can lead to health problems later in life.

School Children 5-12 Years

  • Again, it’s the next important developmental stage in which kids are growing and need high energy levels. It is important to have a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
  • Poor nutrition can lead to restricted growth and less potential to benefit from education.
  • Adequate nutrition is very important for kids growth to full potential and a healthy life.
  • This is the phase when kids are growing tremendously and you will feel that when they are around 9 years of age their consumption will suddenly increase.

Breakfast

It’s the most important meal after being on a fasting mode over night. Studies suggest that children who have breakfast

  • perform better at school
  • are active
  • and their concentration levels are very good too.

Snacks 

  • Healthy snacks like milk, yogurts, fruits, salads, baked or grilled lean meat or fish, sandwiches should be chosen.
  • Snacks with high fat and sugar content should be avoided.
  • Children should be given at least 2 potion of fish a week for its proteins, minerals, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Salt is detrimental, contributing towards high BP later in life. Children should not be encouraged to add extra salt to their food. Similarly foods that have high levels of salt should be avoided.
  • There should be at least 2 portions or fruits and vegetables each should be given.
  • Deep fried items should be given in minimal amounts or better avoided. Instead of deep frying, baking, grilling, boiling and steaming etc should be used to cook food.
  • Limiting or even banning the consumption of confectionery like sweets, chocolates and crisps etc.
  • Fizzy drinks and juices should be avoided. Instead, water, semi skimmed and skimmed milk, pure squeezed fruit juices.
  • Kids should be engaged in at least 60 minutes of physical activity like running, swimming or cycling etc. Physical activity is important for physical well being, social development and healthy growth.

DAILY GUIDELINES : Girls & Boys

Age : 2-3

Range of calories and foods, depending upon growth and activity

Calories1000-1,400
Protein2-4 ounce
Fruits1-1.5 cups
Vegetables1-1.5 cups
Grains3-5 ounce
Dairy2 cups

 

Daily Guidelines for Kids Nutrition : Girls

Age : 4-8

Range of calories and foods, depending upon growth and activity

Calories1200-1800
Protein3-5 ounce
Fruits1-1.5 cups
Vegetables1.5-2.5 cups
Grains4-6 ounce
Dairy2.5 cup

 

Daily Guidelines For Kids Nutrition : Boys

Age : 4-8

Range of calories and foods, depending upon growth and activity

Calories1200-2000
Protein3-5.5 ounce
Fruits1-2 cups
Vegetables1.5-2.5 cups
Grains4-6 ounces
Dairy2.5 cups

 

Daily Guidelines For Kids Nutrition : Girls

Age : 9-12

Range of calories and foods, depending upon growth and activity

Calories1,400-2,200
Protein4-6 ounces
Fruits1.5-2 cups
Vegetables1.5-3 cups
Grains5-7 ounces
Dairy3 cups

 

Daily Guidelines For Kids Nutrition : boys

Age : 9-12

Range of calories and foods, depending upon growth and activity

Calories1,600-2,200
Protein5-6 ½ ounces
Fruits1 ½  -2 cups
Vegetables2-3 ½   cups
Grains5-9 ounces
Dairy3 cups

 

Yusra Kashif

Yusra Kashif has done masters in Food and Nutrition. She has also worked as a Dietitian in an international hospital and as a teacher in a private school. Currently she is taking a further degree in “Food and Nutrition Advisor” from U.K. She loves crafts, baking, cooking and exploring. Yusra is currently a stay at home mum and a part time writer.

Latest posts by Yusra Kashif (see all)

Yusra Kashif

Yusra Kashif has done masters in Food and Nutrition. She has also worked as a Dietitian in an international hospital and as a teacher in a private school. Currently she is taking a further degree in “Food and Nutrition Advisor” from U.K. She loves crafts, baking, cooking and exploring. Yusra is currently a stay at home mum and a part time writer.

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