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Diets for Children and Teens

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Diet Guide for Children and Teenagers

Official diet guidelines for healthy children and teens over 2-3 years of age recommend the following:

  • The best way to ensure adequate nutrition is to eat a wide variety of foods.

  • Energy intake (food calories) should be sufficient to support body growth and development and to attain (but not exceed) a healthy body weight.

Child/Teen Calorie-Intake By Macronutrient

Pediatric dietitians and nutritionists advise that a child\'s or teenagers intake of dietary fat should conform to the following averages:

  • Saturated fat — 7–10 percent of total calories

  • Total fat — an average of no more than 30 percent of total calories

  • Dietary cholesterol — less than 300 milligrams per day

  • Each of these numbers refers to an average of nutrient intake over several days.

General Eating Habits of Children and Teens

A healthy diet is best achieved by following these general rules:

  • Choose foods low in total fat, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.

  • Obtain your carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients from a variety of foods.

  • Choose wholegrain carbohydrates (eg. oats, whole wheat bread, brown rice) rather than refined carbs.

  • Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.

  • Include some vegetarian protein (eg. soybeans) in your weekly diet.

  • Include oily fish (eg. salmon, tuna, mackerel) in your weekly diet.

  • Drink fruit juice or milk in preference to sodas.

  • Eat enough calories to maintain (but not exceed) a healthy weight for your height and build.

Diet Nutrition For Children and Teens

A balanced diet which includes foods from all main food groups, and which contains enough energy to support a healthy weight, should meet or exceed the recommended daily allowances for all nutrients for children and teens, including iron and calcium.

Parents Role in Healthy Eating For Children and Teens

Parental shopping, cooking and eating habits have a direct influence on a child\'s or teenager\'s diet. Therefore parents can help promote good nutrition by setting a good example. Healthy eating habits and regular exercise should be a regular part of your family\'s life. If parents eat high-fat or high calorie foods and take no exercise, chances are their children and teens will eat and exercise in the same way!

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