Daily nutritional requirements for children vary depending on their age. As parents, we should know the best food that we can give our children. Leading a healthy lifestyle starts with knowing the daily nutritional requirements for children in your household.
School age children refer to those who range from four to eighteen years old. They are the preschoolers to high school. Although the nutritional needs for children in this category may vary, what their bodies basically need are nutrients to keep them active, energized and strong. Here are the basics for your child’s daily nutritional requirements:
Recommended Daily Allowance
Have you ever tried checking on the labels of the foods that you get from grocery shelves? If you did, some of them have Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) entries which represent levels of intake of essential nutrients a healthy person must have.
Well, this is a very important tool in determining the child’s daily nutritional requirements in a specific age group.
In fact, you may not be aware of it but schools are mandated to serve at least one third of the RDAs in their canteen during lunchtime to meet the daily nutritional requirements who are eating their lunches there.
Food Guide Pyramid
Can you still remember what we studied in science before about the food pyramid and how it is important to us? Another very helpful tool in determining the nutritional needs for children in all school age brackets is the Food Guide Pyramid.
Basically, it provides for a maximum of 30% total energy intake from fat and getting less than 10% from saturated fats. In which case, children should be served more grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and meat but less on fats and sweets. As for teens, the guidelines set for adults may be observed.
If you ask schoolchildren how much they like canteen food, you’ll get a very depressing reply. Although canteen foods are meant to meet the daily nutritional requirements in school, the dietary patterns of kids are determined by their social, psychological and economic factors.
Children who are still under the control of their parents are very much dependent on their parents’ food choices. However, as they reach high school, their food choices are influenced by their environment, their friends particularly. This has a significant impact on their dietary needs.
In their efforts to raise revenues, some schools enter into contracts with fast food and beverage companies. Vending machines and others have sprouted providing schoolchildren with unhealthy foods such as sodas, chips, burgers, pizza, ice cream and candies.
As a result, a child’s intake of fruits, vegetables and other healthy options have significantly decreased. The daily nutritional requirements were not met resulting to the increase in the numbers of obese children.
Snacking has become the main eating style of our children. This is something very alarming! A big portion of the energy that children derived from food comes from fat. Fast foods have become the new culture embraced by children.
As parents, we do not want this to happen. As much as we can, let us encourage and serve our kids with foods that will keep them healthy and strong.