If children gain the healthy eating habits, they make this habit a lifestyle during adulthood. At this point, not only eating food gains importance, but also what they eat, how long and how much they eat become important. Therefore, it is important to remember that childhood feeding is based on certain principles like adults.
One of the most important achievements for children is healthy eating habits. For this reason it is extremely important to keep in mind the amount of calories your children, who are growing, need to take on a daily average. You must also pay attention to the order of the foods they will receive.
Nutrition specialists notice that each child’s body structure and development is different. Children’s eating habits should be determined according to genetic structure, sex, body structure and shape. In order to meet their energy and continue their healthy growth and development, they need to consume daily amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals in quantities appropriate for their age and physical activity.
Approximately 60 percent of daily energy needs in children are derived from carbohydrates, 15 to 20 percent from proteins and 30 percent from fat. Children need specific nutrients in different amounts at different ages. In addition, the amount of daily energy they spend varies according to their physical activity. Especially in the summer period, the amount of calories consumed by children can increase significantly. For this reason, it is recommended that the average group of 4-6 years must take 1400-1600 kcal per day, and that for the group of 9-12 years it is 1800-2000 kcal energy per day.
Well, how much energy do the children need to consume to continue their healthy growth and development process? Nutrition specialists suggest the following guidelines for parents:
- Choose the right carbohydrate: Carbohydrates, which are nutrients that provide the body with the necessary energy for mental and physical work, are digested very quickly and turn into energy. But, it is also necessary to make the right choices among carbohydrate-containing products that meet about 60 percent of children’s daily energy. This needs to be met by complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain, oatmeal, bulgur, legumes, fruits and vegetables, made entirely of whole wheat or whole rye, instead of simple carbohydrates like white undersea foods, white sugar, syrupy foods.
- 30% of daily energy should be taken from beneficial fat. Approximately 30% of the energy that children need to get daily is taken from fats. Unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 provide for eye and brain development, strengthening of the immune system and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in children. For this reason, fish, walnuts, nuts and almonds, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and all green leafy vegetables must be consumed regularly.
- 2-3 portions protein is needed to be consumed for healthy growth. Proteins that make up, provide and maintain the body tissues are of great importance for the growth and development of children. For this reason, it is necessary for children to consume 2-3 servings daily of meat, fish, white meat, milk and dairy products, which are a good source of protein.
- Vitamins and minerals are the basics of growth and development of children. Vitamins and minerals also support growth and development throughout childhood. Calcium found in milk and dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables is an effective mineral especially for young children. The amount of calcium, which is extremely important for strong bones and dental health, can be well below the recommended intake per day as the children get closer to adolescence. Osteoporosis which mostly affects adults can also occur in children who cannot get rich in calcium. 700 mg of calcium per day between the ages of 1 and 3, 1000 mg per day between the ages of 4 and 8, and 1300 mg per day in children between the ages of 9 and 18 is needed to be taken.