In the first year, infants eat food to control the motion of head and neck, to sit up and to move the head around. As the children start moving and show interest in eating, they can be given vegetables, cereals, milk and fruits needed for activities such as crawling and walking. Most of the small children eat small quantity of food in one time because their tummies are small and hence, they should be given food many times in a day.
1. After two years, the need for frequent food reduces and toddlers can be given food on regular schedules.
2. Food is needed for proper development of the children and after two years, the quantity of fat can be reduced, but certain fats such as omega - 3 and omega - 6, are necessary for the growth. Omega - 3 is found in tuna, nuts, salmon and omega - 6 is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, corn etc.
3. Young children can be given food low in fibres, but as the child grows to reach the school going age, the fibre content can be increased.
4. Children need fluoride in case, the local water is deficient in fluoride.
5. Carbohydrate should always is given to children in the form of breads, grains, fruits, meats and dairy products .Vegetables can be given to prevent nutrition deficiency. Breads and rice fulfil the need for energy, vitamin, minerals and fibres. Fruits provide antioxidants and vitamins.
6. Calcium is needed for bone growth and the children can be given yoghurt, cheese and milk to provide calcium.
7. Iron is needed for increasing blood and meat, fish, eggs and pulses can be given to provide proteins and iron. Protein should not be given in excess and there are many forms of protein diets, which are not very easy to digest.
8. The intake of sugary food such as biscuits, carbonated drinks, pastries and sweets should be reduced as it has low nutritional value.
9. Too much salt, sugar and saturated fat should not be given to little kids. Children of age below five years need two to three grams of salt and children of age seven to ten years can be given maximum five grams salt in a day.
10. Children should not be overfed and restriction on food intake should not be imposed on obese children. If a child is obese, the entire family needs to make changes in food habits.
The daily requirement of calories in kids of age one to five years varies for girls and boys, from fifteen hundred calories to seventeen hundred calories (per day). The needs for calories also depend on the height and weight of the child and it increases with age. Children of age fifteen to eighteen years need more nutrients such as Vitamin B, calcium and Iron, as compared to adults. Parents should be careful to give diet rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and Vitamin B, until the children reach an age to have a control over their diet.