It’s Important to Know What to Feed Your Kid!

It is very important to note that we should feed our children a proper diet whenever we go out with them in the summer to enjoy the good weather. Eating fast foods, and consuming soft drinks can be particularly problematic for our children and adolescents, especially if they have problems with weight. Fast foods, mostly have a high content of total fat (sometimes more than 50 percent of calories come from fat), sugar and sodium associated with very low levels of vitamins, fiber and calcium.

If we want our children to eat healthy when we go out with them, one of the most important things we must do as parents is to learn to eat healthy and know that what nutrients are needed and in how much amount. The principles of nutrition for children are same as adults. We all need the same types of nutrients, such as vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. For children, we must take into account that what amount will supply these nutrients.

One of the most important ways to know how much your child should eat is knowing how many calories a day he/she needs. Below is a table representing the amount of calories your children should consume every day.

Age (years) Sex Calories per day
2-3 MaleFemale 1000
4-8 MaleFemale 1200-20001200-1800
9-13 MaleFemale 1600-26001400-2200
14-18 MaleFemale 2000-32001800-2400

It is also important to select the following foods when we are making decisions about our kid’s diet:

  • Fruits: Eating fresh fruits is very healthy as they contain high content of highly nutritious ingredients: The important thing is to eat fresh fruit and not canned
  • Meat: Eat lean meat like turkey and chicken, but remember that they are not fried
  • Seafood
  • Eggs, soy, seeds & nuts are very nutritious
  • Dairy products: Yogurt, milk
  • Grains: Oats, corn, quinoa, beans
  • Beverages: Water and juices

When you leave the house with your children, remember that you must be an example to follow. Try to prepare meals at home, eat and then leave to get rid of preparing snacks to take with you and minimize the amount of meals that are exposed on the street.

-Dr. Denise Núñez is a pediatrician and founder of the Niño de la Caridad Foundation in the Bronx