By Lauren Ashton Nutritionist based in Melbourne, Australia
Childhood is a vital stage of life. During this stage, children experience rapid physical and mental growth. Healthy eating for children is essential to ensure proper growth. If growth potential is not met in these early years, a child can become more susceptable to many illnesses and conditions such as diabetes throughout their life.
From infancy, calorie needs per kilgram of body weight drop for about 3 years as growth slows down. Saying this, it is important to consider that although calorie needs per kilogram decrease, total calorie needs rise steadily throughout childhood as the child gains weight.
Protein intake is also very important as it is directly involved in tissue synthesis (growth). Protein needs are approximately 20-40% higher per kilogram of weight than adult requirements. Throughout the world, protein malnutrition is a cause for concern as it can result in impaired physical development, illness and delayed growth. Protein comes from both animal and plant sources. It is important to choose proteins from both of these categories to add variety to the diet and ensure all essential amino acids are consumed.
Lean Animal Sources
Chicken (especially skinless, organic)
Eggs (especially DHA enhanced)
Healthy Eating Habits for Children & Lifestyle
All of the seven main food groups play a vital role in growth and development during childhood. On average, a 5 year old child requires between 50-60% of an adult`s daily caloric/nutritional requirements - which is higher than most would think.
Children`s Vitamin D needs, however, are well above the adult requirement. Because of this, it is imperative that children spend time playing outside. Moreover, play contributes to their physical activity needs.