Kid's & Teen's World

Nutrition for Kids & Teens - Fun has right of way!

Eating is more than just the pure intake of food. Here there is a great opportunity for the development of nutrition education in the family. Because children and young people are often very interested and have a lot of fun helping out in the kitchen. Important: it must also taste good and be fun. Use plenty of plant-based foods for preparation - whenever possible: vegetables, fruit, cereals and cereal products, potatoes. Only offer animal foods in moderation, such as meat, sausage, fish, eggs, but also milk and dairy products such as cheese, quark, yogurt. Especially with children and teenagers, you will achieve little with coercion and prohibitions. Therefore, in all recommendations for healthy nutrition for children, the fun of eating should not be ignored.

Grow big and strong?

That's what most children and young people want. In order for growth and development to proceed well, their body needs the healthy nutrition mentioned at the beginning, a lot of exercise - but in any case also nutrients: vitamins, minerals, trace elements. Many of these cannot be produced by the organism itself or are not absorbed or not sufficiently absorbed due to an unbalanced nutrition. Therefore, targeted supplementation with high-quality food supplements is recommended (in consultation with a doctor or pharmacist).

The metabolism of children and teenagers is different from that of adults mainly due to physical growth, development-related changes in organ functions and body composition. Likewise, the need for individual nutrients differs significantly from that of an adult. For example, children need more calcium, vitamin C and D in relation to their energy intake. During growth, nutritional and energy requirements change both qualitatively and quantitatively.

The fat intake of children and teenagers today is extremely imbalanced. For example, too many saturated fats - mainly contained in animal products - are consumed (sausage sandwiches, burgers, schnitzel, ...), whereas mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids tend to be consumed too rarely.

Why are omega-3 and omega-6 fats important?

The omega-3 linolenic acid and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid cannot be produced by the body itself. They are therefore called essential, as they must be supplied with food. The essential linoleic acid and linolenic acid are converted in the body to other important fatty acids such as arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are important for cell membranes and as signal substances. The central nervous system of children grows rapidly. A deficiency or imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can have a negative effect on the central nervous system. Concentration difficulties, learning disorders and psychomotor problems can be the result.

For 1 to 4-year-old children, 30-40 % of the energy should be covered by fat. For children aged 4 and over, the energy covered by fat intake should only amount to a maximum of 35 %.

How much iron do children need?

Children aged 1 to 7 years need 8 g of iron per day. Children from 7 years of age already need 10 g of iron per day. After that, the requirement rises to 15 g for girls and 12 g for boys. This requirement does not change until adulthood.

Iron-rich foods such as meat, legumes and whole grains should be eaten regularly. Parents should bear in mind that the simultaneous intake of vitamin C and iron-rich products can improve the bioavailability of this nutrient.

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