Kid’s meal in a day
Which are the good foods for children’s health? How much calories are needed per day for a child? How can parents ensure healthy eating for children? These are questions that every parent faces in day to day life. Providing all the basic nutrients to their kids in the right quantity is what every parent is thriving for. With a rising childhood obesity rate, parents are often worried that they are over feeding their kid. On the other hand, being underweight is also a major concern for parents.(Nutritious foods for weight gain) Kids of different ages need different amounts of calories in a day depending on their existing weight and activity levels.
How much calories are needed per day for a BOY?
|Age||Not Active||Somewhat Active||Very Active|
|2-3 years||1,000-1,200 calories||1,000-1,400 calories||1,000-1,400 calories|
|4-8 years||1,200-1,400 calories||1,400-1,600 calories||1,600-2,000 calories|
|9-13 years||1,600-2,000 calories||1,800-2,200 calories||2,000-2,600 calories|
|14-18 years||2,000-2,400 calories||2,400-2,800 calories||2,800-3,200 calories|
How much calories are needed per day for a GIRL?
|Age||Not Active||Somewhat Active||Very Active|
|2-3 years||1,000 calories||1,000-1,200 calories||1,000-1,400 calories|
|4-8 years||1,200-1,400 calories||1,400-1,600 calories||1,400-1,800 calories|
|9-13 years||1,400-1,600 calories||1,600-2,000 calories||1,800-2,200 calories|
|14-18 years||1,800 calories||2,000 calories||2,400 calories|
Source: Parent Tips: Calories Needed Each Day (nih.gov)
What comprises nutritious food for children?
Choosing the right amount of calories, fulfilling children’s daily nutritional requirements and planning their meals to make it tasty yet healthy is a herculean task for parents. A healthy or balanced meal is one comprising all the three food groups: proteins, carbohydrates and fats along with micro nutrients such as vitamins (vitamin A, B, C, D, E,K), minerals (calcium, zinc, iodine), fiber and water in the right quantity. Studies suggest that children who eat a balanced diet are healthy, lead an active lifestyle and have lower chances of developing any health issues at a later age. (Why is balanced diet important for kids?)
Importance of Nutritious Food for Children
It is the parent’s responsibility to provide nutritious food for children according to the kid’s age, gender and activity levels. Nutrients that we obtain from food have significant effects on our kid’s physical and mental growth and development, maintenance of normal body function, physical activity and overall health. Requirements of essential nutrients vary with age, gender, physiological status and activity. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are macro-nutrients which are needed in larger quantities whereas vitamins and minerals are needed in smaller amounts. Children, in particular, need healthy meals to complement their growing bodies and that is why it is essential to promote healthy eating for children. (Nutrition for kids)
What problems the kid might face due to lack of proper nutrition in their diet?
Nutritional deficiency is a major factor contributing to various diseases like obesity, iron deficiency, weak vision, hair fall, dry skin etc. In school-children, proper nutrition becomes more important to prevent them from falling sick regularly which affects their learning capabilities. Few nutritional problems faced by school going children are obesity, eating disorders, low immunity, dental problems and anemia.
Healthy eating for children:
With all the information about the importance of a balanced and healthy diet, the next question that comes to a parent’s mind is what are the good food for children’s health, how can they provide all these nutrients to their children, how many meals should they have and what all to include in their meal so that it is appealing to kids and healthy at the same time. (How can you provide nutrition to kids in their preferred food formats?) A child’s daily calorie intake depends on the kid’s age, current weight & activity levels. Four meals a day with a gap of three hours is advisable for kids as well as adults.
Planning the meals:
Depending on their recommended daily calorie intake, parents can plan each meal with a proper amount of nutrients and calories. For example, if a kid’s daily calorie need is fifteen hundred calories, then he/she can have four meals, each meal approximately comprising three hundred calories. Some important points to remember while preparing your kid’s meal are: choose a variety of foods depending on their age, gender, physiological status and physical activities combining whole grains, beans/ lentils and greens in appropriate amounts, prefer fresh & locally available fruits and vegetables and encourage mindful eating for kids, which means that they understand what they are eating and for which purpose. This understanding in kids at a young age goes a long way in making better food choices for themselves thereby ensuring healthy eating for children.
What are the food sources for various food groups?
Carbohydrates are also known as energy giving foods. It means, they are one of the three main ways from which the body obtains energy or calories. Foods rich in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. It provides glucose, which is converted to energy and further used in body functioning and physical activities. Carbohydrates are found as both simple and complex carbs. Food sources such as fruits, milk and milk products are quick sources of energy called simple carbs. This can also include refined or processed sugar or syrups or soft drinks or other processed and packed foods. Vegetables, whole grains are types of complex carbs which take longer to digest and breakdown into energy. And thus support healthy weight by keeping the body full for longer due to high fiber content (What are some healthy weight gain foods?)
Protein acts as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood and ensures healthy eating for children. It is made up of a chemical called amino acids. Amino acids are necessary to make protein in the body. Consuming a variety of food results in higher chances of eating all 20 amino acids required to build proteins. If there is a shortage of amino acids required, the body stops making protein. The bulk of food consumed is then stored as fat in the body causing weight gain. Proteins are necessary to build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes. Protein group includes all meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, soy products, nuts and seeds. (What are some easy protein sources?)
Fats are a concentrated source of energy and are made of fatty acids in different proportions. It also promote the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, K. Nuts & seeds, vegetable and nut oils, ghee, butter are sources of fats. Liver helps to breakdown fat in the body. Excess fat intake can put extra pressure on the liver resulting in likely damage. Also, any additional fat not used in the body is stored in the cells for later use at specific fat reserves (hips, thighs, upper arms, and tummy) in the body. Body needs fat for energy, producing hormones, keeping the body warm and protecting it against infection. Moreover, Fat is extremely important for the brain also.
There are two types of Fats- saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and found mostly in dairy products, animal products and processed/ packaged foods in high quantities. Whereas unsaturated fat is the good fat found in plant sources (except also in fish) like avocado, olive, nuts & seeds, fish (sardines, salmon). This fat is mostly liquid at room temp. While choosing a food, keep the saturated fat as low as possible. (Which fat is good for the body?)
Vitamins and minerals:
Also known as protective foods, Vitamins and minerals help to remove deficiencies, build bones, heal wounds, fight diseases and support strong immune systems.
Therefore, vitamins are important for various processes and maintenance of the structure of skin, bone, nerves, eye, brain, blood. And there are water-soluble or fat-soluble vitamins. Leafy vegetables, animal products, nuts & seeds, vegetable oils, dairy foods are rich in fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E and K ). Whereas nuts & seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains, milk and dairy foods are high in water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C, the B vitamins). (What foods have which vitamins?)
Minerals include calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride and sulphur are found in nuts, seeds, shellfish, chicken, eggs, beans, cocoa, avocados, berries, yogurt and cheese. (What are some vitamins and minerals for bones?)
Recipe: Oats Cake with hidden herbs and nuts:
Let’s make every dish tasty and nutritious by ‘hidden’ nutrition of veggies, herbs and nuts.
- 1 cup oats flour (grind oats to make flour)
- ½ cup milk (or nut milk)
- 2 tbsp Iyurved’s 7 nuts and 5 herbs savoury spread (order here) or 2 tbsp Ghee
- 2 eggs beaten or flax-egg (2 tbsp flax seed powder mixed with 12 tbsp warm water. Leave for 5 minutes to make lumpy paste)
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup jaggery or coconut sugar (as per taste)
- ½ tsp vanila essence (optional)
- ¼ tsp salt (epsom salt preferred)
Mix all with hand and pour in a lined pan. Preheat at 200 celsius for 5 min. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool outside. Serve.
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