All mothers want to give their kids the best nutrition throughout the day and their growing lives.
School-age children (ages 5 to 10) need healthy foods and nutritious snacks. They have a consistent but slow rate of growth and usually eat four to five times a day (including snacks). School-age children are often willing to eat a wider variety of foods than their younger siblings. Eating healthy after-school snacks is important, too, as these snacks may contribute up to one-third of the total calorie intake for the day.
Now that your child is no longer a toddler, he/she should already be able to comfortably eat all of the foods you eat—the key is giving him/her smaller portion sizes at meals and snacks throughout the day, to fuel his/her high energy needs. This food timetable summarizes some of the meals you can make for your school aged child, 5 years and above. Here are some other tips for feeding your child;
- Now that your child is going to school in the morning, it’s very important to make time for breakfast. A good breakfast fuels their day and helps them focus at school and is linked to a healthier body weight.
- Limit television time. Turning off the television not only gets rid of distractions at family meals, but also encourages your kids to play in a more physical way. Children this age should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, but hopefully if your child is at school this should not be a problem, as kids play during their break time.
- At the age of 5 children become like adults in that they eat more when served more. Serve smaller portions and give children second helpings when they ask for it.
- Boys start having higher energy needs than girls around 4; so try to give an extra portion of vegetables, meat/beans, and grains for boys, but use your child’s appetite as a guide.
- There's no specific amount of water recommended for children, but it's a good idea to give them water throughout the day, not just when they're thirsty.
How Much Food Do Children Need? The number of calories a school-age child needs each day depends on his age, gender and activity level. See table below. Important nutrients for school-age children include calcium found in milk and yoghurt, iron in beef and cereal, vitamin A found in fruits, vegetables and dairy products, vitamin D in fish and dairy products and iodine, which is abundant in seafood, dairy products, enriched grains and iodized salt. Protein is also important for growth, strength and muscle maintenance in school-age children. Children ages 4 to 8 need at least 19 grams of protein and kids ages 9 to 13 require 34 grams of protein. High-protein foods include lean red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt, beans, peanuts etc.
What Should I Do If My Child Is A Picky Eater? A multivitamin supplement containing essential vitamins and minerals, maybe beneficial especially if your school-age child is a picky eater. Look for child multivitamins containing the key nutrients described above.