Who has not already had to deal with the question of whether his child eats too little or too much? We support you with information to help you understand the calorie needs of your child.
Calorie requirements for young children
Toddlers generally have a high energy requirement. The requirement varies and depends on age, gender and physical activity. Children are usually very physically active – playing, jumping, running, climbing and romping are in the child’s nature. The calorie requirement is therefore, in relation to the body weight significantly higher than that of adults. For a healthy growth of your child, a sufficient calorie intake is essential. If the calorie requirement of the child is exceeded in the long term, your child can quickly become overweight.
Guideline values for calorie intake
Children at the age of one year have an average need of 850 calories a day.
Children at the age of two need about 1050 calories per day.
Children at the age of three years need a daily intake of about 1250 calories.
As a mother, you should of course make sure that your child has a healthy composition of calories. A balanced diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds is essential for your child’s healthy growth. You should also make sure that your child gets enough exercise in everyday life.
Calorie intake for boys and girls
Basically, the need for calories for boys and girls only differs from the 9. Year of life. Before that, boys and girls at the same age and with a comparable energy consumption also need about the same number of calories. The reason why boys have a higher calorie requirement than girls is due to the higher muscle percentage of boys. Muscle uses more energy than body fat, even at rest.
Calculation of calorie requirements
To calculate your child’s calorie needs, you must first calculate the basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy the body needs at rest to perform and maintain survival functions. Basal Metabolic Rate depends on the child’s weight, height and age. Using the Harris-Benedict formula, the basal metabolic rate can be calculated as follows:
66,47 + (13,7 *body weight in kg) + (5 * height in cm) – (6,8 * age in years)
655.1 + (9.6 * body weight in kg) + (1.8 * height in cm) – (4.7 * age in years)
When using the formula, note that it refers to the calculation of basal metabolic rate for adults and children seven years and older. As a rough guide you can use the formulas of course. On the Internet you can also find many basal metabolic rate calculators for children from one year of age.
The basal metabolic rate should not be confused with the caloric requirement. The calorie requirement is made up of the basal metabolic rate and the power metabolic rate. Power metabolic rate is the amount of energy the body burns during daily activities of daily living and can be determined using the Physical Actitivy Level (PAL factor). Using the PAL factor, the activity metabolic rate for both boys and girls can be calculated by the following formula:
Basal metabolic rate * (PAL factor -1)
Below you will find a detailed explanation of the PAL factor.
Activity Level Calculation
The PAL value((Physical Activity Level) is called the measurable value of physical activity. The PAL value is used as a basis for calculating the power metabolism. With the help of PAL value you can calculate your own energy needs, it always refers to 24 hours.
PAL value 0.95 night’s rest
PAL value 1.2 sedentary/lying – predominantly sedentary or lying lifestyle
PAL value 1.3-1.5 sedentary – predominantly sedentary with little leisure activity.
PAL value 1.6-1.7 moderately active – sedentary activity with standing and walking leisure activities.
PAL value 1.8-1.9 active – mainly standing and walking activity
PAL value 2.0-2.4 very active – hard and heavy physical activity
With children, we can think of it like this:
sedentary is a way of life without much physical activity
Moderately active is a lifestyle with light physical activity
active is a way of life with a lot of physical activities
As you can see, your child’s physical activity has a very big impact on the calculation of calorie intake.
Recommended child nutrition and its intake recommendation
Just calculating your child’s calorie needs is not enough to provide them with all the essential nutrients in the best way possible. A well-planned whole-food and balanced diet is the key to health.
You can orientate yourself on the following food groups, just imagine them like a 6-step pyramid:
We’ll start at the bottom with the cornerstone of the pyramid, the drinks. Children between the ages of 2 and 7 years should be well 1 liter Get water or tea. From the age of 8, they should drink at least 1.2-1.5 liters of water.
After that, let’s go one level further and get to the Vegetables and fruits. The DGE speaks of "five a day". Offer your children 5 vegetable or fruit portions. You don’t even have to pay attention to a certain amount. If you provide your child with bright and colorful vegetable and fruit snacks, perhaps arrange them in a child-friendly way so that they are also fun, they should be provided with all the essential nutrients. Because the colorful variety is due to the content of phytochemicals, which bring many health-promoting properties.
On the next level we will find the energy sources in our pyramid. Whole grains and potatoes. Whole grain products such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, pseudo-grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and whole grain and wild rice should be chosen. You should take into account that the more the individual product is processed, the less nutrients remain contained. You are welcome to 3 portions a day to your child.
Next put Dairy or plant-based drinks and yogurts, legumes, seeds and nuts a very important food group.
You should limit legumes to ca. 50-100g come in the day. Dairy products or plant-based drinks and yogurts should be consumed 1-3 times a day at about approx. 150g be eaten. Seeds and nuts should be ca. 30-50g to be consumed. You can offer them to your child in muesli or chopped up in a shake.
How to motivate my child to eat?
Many children have periods when they don’t want to eat much. Foods that were always gratefully accepted are now spurned. You don’t have to worry about this. We’ve put together a few tips on how to motivate your child to eat:
- Always offer your child a varied and colorful selection of foods
- Make your child a snack several times a day – whether a bowl of nuts or a freshly sliced apple
- Try to keep distractions to a minimum. No television, no loud noises
- Determine a fixed time for the main meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner with the whole family together
- Let your child help you prepare meals
- Design your children’s meals according to funny smileys or animals
How can I help my overweight child lose weight??
Obesity in children is unhealthy and can lead to mental effects due to bullying. The best way to help your child lose weight is to be a good role model. Cook fresh, healthy and balanced, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink only tea and water. Parents are always role models in the eyes of the child. Never reward your child with sweets and certainly not for eating something healthy. By doing this, you are suggesting to your child that the healthy food is not attractive, while you are portraying the candy as desirable. You can also integrate your child in cooking. Your child will be proud to have helped prepare the healthy meal and will eat it with pleasure.
Secret fatteners – hidden calories in foods
Many products contain hidden calories that can lead to obesity if eaten regularly. Of course, a child should not eat sweets or fast food regularly. But sauces, yogurts and cereal bars also contain many calories and unhealthy ingredients. The worst hidden fattener is found in drinks. Drinks are often not counted in the calorie balance, so that many mothers are not even aware of how many calories fruit drinks, soft drinks, cocoa and iced tea contain. Water and unsweetened tea should be your child’s main beverages.
Exact calorie counting should be avoided
Counting calories in an embarrassing way should be avoided at all costs. Of course, it’s useful to know your child’s approximate calorie consumption and use it as a rough guide. Exact calorie counting can stress yourself and your child unnecessarily. Under certain circumstances, the exact counting of calories can lead to disturbed eating behavior and, in the worst case, to an eating disorder in children. If your child is of normal weight and development, not too much attention should be paid to counting calories. With a wholesome, balanced diet and sufficient exercise, even a small amount of sweets does not pose a risk of your child becoming overweight.