How Much Protein and Carbohydrates Should My Child Be Consuming?￼
Macronutrients are the main nutrients that make up our food. There are three of them: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Boiling down dietary needs for children can be a tricky one because it will constantly change during each stage of their development. Gender, weight, and height is also a factor since no two children (even siblings) are exactly the same. However, it is possible to get a general idea of what your grade-school-aged child requires. Learn about how you can help your child meet their recommended daily intake of protein fat and carbohydrates.
Why are carbohydrates important in my child’s diet?
Carbohydrates usually get a bad rap, but in reality, they are more than half of what kids should be consuming today in order to get the calories they need. 50-60% of what children consume per day are carbohydrates. “Beginning at the age of 1 year, and continuing throughout their teens, children need to consume 130 grams of total carbohydrates daily. The majority of their carbs should come from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. In addition to being sources of carbohydrates, these foods provide the nutrients that support children’s growth and development.”
Healthy foods that are high in carbs include:
- Whole-grain bread
How much protein fat should my child be consuming?
Fat also doesn’t have the best reputation, but we all need some of it to maintain optimal health! They are used for energy once they are broken into fatty acids. Kids 4 to 8 will need 19 grams of protein a day while ones within the 9 to 13 range will need to level up to 34 grams. It is worth mentioning that your child will require additional protein, up to 10-15% more, if they are underweight, have a weakened immune system, or if they don’t consume meat. Meats and fish are considered “complete” proteins, so ensuring your child gets enough protein fat daily is critical. Supplementary vitamins can help.
Consider packing some of these delicious options in your child’s lunchbox:
- Chicken breast
- Cottage cheese
- Fatty fish (herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout)
- Full-fat yogurt
- A carton of milk
- Whole eggs
How to ensure your child is meeting their nutritional needs
Setting up a meal plan each week for all of your children is a good course of action. Every Sunday (or whichever day of the week works best for you), sit down and make a chart listing all 3 meals and snacks you will prepare for the next 7 days. That way, you can keep track of what they are eating and not have to stress about what to make for dinner every night and properly plan out any nights you plan to go to eat out instead. It will also help you ensure your kid isn’t getting dessert or snacking too many times during the week! Having a weekly plan will especially come in handy if you have a child with specific dietary needs or medical conditions. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s recommended daily intake of protein fat and carbohydrates or their physical health in general.