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Diet Plan for Children: Ages 1 to 11 years

The number of calories that your child requires will correspond to their age and how much they weigh.

Updated:September 12, 2019, 3:01 PM IST
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Diet Plan for Children: Ages 1 to 11 years
The number of calories that your child requires will correspond to their age and how much they weigh.

Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial to keeping your child on track with their health, development, growth and overall well-being. It also helps fend off common modern-day lifestyle ailments such as obesity and diabetes by aiding optimum weight maintenance. Here are some guidelines to keep your babies and young ones energized and active through wise food choices and adequate serving sizes.

How many calories does my child need to consume daily?

The number of calories that your child requires will correspond to their age and how much they weigh. Babies from the age of zero to three need approximately 100 calories per kilogram they weigh. Children between the ages of four and six require about 90 calories per kilo of their weight. Those who are seven to 11 years old need around 70 calories for every kilogram they weigh.

Proteins are very important

Protein is an important consideration when it comes to a healthy diet since it is considered the building blocks of the body, needed for growth and repair of muscle and cells. Babies till the age of three require about 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of their weight. From the age of four to six, children need around 1.1 grams of protein per kilo. Those seven to 11 years old require about 1 gram of protein for every kilo they weigh.

Can vitamin supplements promote better health?

One of the major benefits of a balanced diet is that you do not have to compensate with added vitamins and minerals. If your child is eating a healthy and varied diet, filled with enough macronutrients, fruits and vegetables then vitamin and mineral supplements will most likely not be necessary unless prescribed by a doctor.

Daily diet guide according to food groups

Here’s a general nutritional guide to follow when it comes to the broad food groups. Keep in mind that these are just tips and general recommendations for children without any ailments. If your child has dietary restrictions or a medical condition, always check with your pediatrician before trying out new foods and dietary routines.

Grains and Cereal

This includes foods like bread and starches. Active children require at least five servings of this carbohydrate-heavy food for energy. Here are the approximate serving sizes of common grains and cereals required for each age range.

Ages 1 to 3:

1/4 cup of rice or pasta

1/2 or 1 slice of bread

14g of dry cereal

Ages 4 to 6:

1/2 cup of rice or pasta

1 slice of bread

20g of dry cereal

Ages 7 to 11:

1 cup of rice or pasta

2 slices of bread

30g of dry cereal

Fruits

Fruits are filled with fibre and vitamins, and they’re delicious too so your child will probably make no fuss eating them. Give your child about two or three servings of fruit a day. Here’s a guide for single serving sizes according to age.

Ages 1 to 3:

1/4 cup pureed fruit

1/4 cup juice

Ages 4 to 6:

1/2 piece fresh fruit

1/2 cup juice

Ages 7 to 11:

1 piece of fresh fruit

1/2 cup juice

Meat and meat substitutes

These foods contain high amounts of protein which is beneficial to growing children. Children should have three servings and above from these foods daily. Here’s how much a serving consists of for each age range.

Ages 1 to 3:

● 1/4 cup dried beans/legumes that have been cooked

● 20g of cheese

● 1 egg

● 30g of meat, including fish and poultry

Ages 4 to 6:

● 1/3 cup dried beans/legumes that have been cooked

● 1/3 cup of paneer

● 30g of cheese

● 1 egg

● 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

● 30g to 60g of meat, including fish and poultry

Ages 7 to 11:

● 1/2 cup dried beans/legumes that have been cooked

● 1/2 cup of paneer

● 30g to 60g of cheese

● 1 egg

● 3 tablespoons of peanut butter

● 60g to 90g of meat, including fish and poultry

Dairy

Children need about three servings of dairy such as milk or yoghurt every day. This is a guide to how much one serving is for each age range.

● Ages 1 to 3: 1/2 to 3/4 cup

● Ages 4 to 6: 3/4 cup

● Ages 7 to 11: 1 cup

Vegetables

Aim to give your child about two or three servings of vegetables daily. These include raw or cooked vegetables.

● Ages 1 to 3:: 1/4 cup

● Ages 4 to 6: 1/4 to 1/3 cup

● Ages 7 to 11: 1/2 cup

Fats

Fats such as oils and butter are necessary in a diet but foods should be chosen wisely. Make sure that the food your child consumes is healthy and not just filled with empty calories. Fatty foods should be eaten in moderation as excess can lead to unhealthy weight gain and health ailments. Children need one to three servings of fat a day.

● Ages 1 to 3: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon

● Ages 4 to 6: 1 teaspoon

● Ages 7 to 11: 1 tablespoon

Treats

Foods with high amounts of sugar like sweets, cakes and cookies should be limited and not consumed frequently. A serving of dessert is usually small - think half a cup of ice cream, custard or pudding or a medium-sized cookie. Here’s how many servings of treats a child should ideally have in a week.

● Ages 1 to 3: 1 to 2 servings weekly

● Ages 4 to 6: 3 to 4 servings weekly

● Ages 7 to 11: 4 to 5 servings weekly

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