Depending on what you believe and which programs you watch, you may be concerned about obsesity rates in your children. Or you may just want to know how many calories your child should be consuming in a given day, as it is important information for health.
According to the USDA, children over the age of four should be consuming calories over the amount that is equal to their weight and activity level. This is because they are growing. So this number will vary. The website for the USDA does have a healthy kids calculator you can utilize to get an idea. One example of an eight-year-old boy who is very active, weighs 45 pounds and is 45 inches tall would need over 1800 calories a day. These calories should be consumed with 2.5 cups of vegetables, 1.5 oz of fruits, 5 oz of protein, 6 oz of grains, 2 cups of milk, and 24 grams of oil. There is also a discretionary amount of 275 calories.
Nutrition is a topic that is touch upon in most schools and it will hopefully follow a child throughout their life. Though what is preached by health teachers is often not put in practice by the school lunch program. Nutritionists, doctors and healthcare workers, and parents agree that children need to watch their intake of saturated fats, sodium, and sugars found in processed foods, however this is generally what is available as part of the school lunch program so packing a lunch from home maybe a better alternative most days of the week.
Some examples of Food choices from food pyramid
Drinking milk, whether it is cow, goat, soy or something else is encouraged throughout life. For children under three they should consume whole milk, and never be given low-calorie or low-fat milk unless directed by a physician for a specific health reason. Children should consume at least 2 servings of milk, cheese or yogurt a day. A serving is an 8oz glass of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, or 2 oz of cheese. Children under three should NOT be given low-fat milk.
Fruit & Veg
Kids typically eat more fruit than vegetables, but what is important is to have a variety in the diet. If a child refuses to eat a certain food, it is best to not force the issue as their taste buds will change and sometimes it takes more than one introduction to a food for it to be accepted. A serving of vegetable is ½ cup of raw or chopped vegetable or 1 cup of leafy vegetables. Many vegetables can be hidden in juices, or pureed in sauces. A fruit serving is ¾ of a cup of juice, 1 piece of fruit, 1 slice of a melon wedge, ¼ cup of dried fruit.