Nutrition: School-Age

Nutrition: School-Age

Helpful feeding information for your school-age child

School-age children (ages 6 to 12) continue to 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). Many food habits, likes, and dislikes are established during this time. Family, friends, and the media (especially TV) influence their food choices and eating habits. School-aged children are often willing to eat a wider variety of foods than their younger siblings. Eating healthy after-school snacks are important, as these snacks may contribute up to one-third of the total calorie intake for the day. School-age children have developed more advanced feeding skills and are able to help with meal preparation.

The following are some helpful mealtime hints for school-age children:

Healthy food choices

The Choose My Plate icon is a guideline to help you and your child eat a healthy diet. My Plate can help you and your child eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat.

The USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have prepared the following food plate to guide parents in selecting foods for children age 2 and older.

The My Plate icon is divided into five food group categories, emphasizing the nutritional intake of the following:

Oils are not a food group, yet some, such as nut oils, contain essential nutrients and can be included in the diet. Others, such as animal fats, are solid and should be avoided.

Exercise and everyday physical activity should also be included with a healthy dietary plan.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (the most recent guidelines), a decrease of energy intake of 50 to 100 calories per day for children who are gaining excess fat can reduce the rate at which they gain weight. With this reduction in energy intake, they will grow into a healthy weight as they age. Help your child find higher-calorie foods that can be cut from his or her daily intake.

Nutrition and activity tips:

To find more information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and to determine the appropriate dietary recommendations for your child’s age, sex, and physical activity level, visit the Online Resources page for the links to the ChooseMyPlate.gov and 2010 Dietary Guidelines sites. Please note that the My Plate plan is designed for people older than age 2 who do not have chronic health conditions.

Always consult your child’s health care provider regarding his or her healthy diet and exercise requirements.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pediatrics

 

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