How Many Calories Should a Five Year Old Eat?

It is, arguably, in the genetic programming of a parent to worry about the eating habits of their children in all phases of growing up. Parents who have a five-year-old child may concern about this question: how many calories should a five year old eat? While some children adopt healthier eating habits quite easily, others are glued to more reckless choices in food. An obesity rate of 17 percent highlights the reckless eating habits of children, which are taking a turn for the worst every day. Therefore, health care experts have devised a set of rules in the aspect of eating habits. 

How Many Calories Should a Five Year Old Eat?

Every child has a different metabolism rate, depending on the level of his or her activity as well as some biological factors. Calorie intake amount should be expendable owing to the activity level of that particular child. The following chart from webmd is the recommended calorie intake for 5 year olds or kids of 4-8 olds:

Gender/ Active Level Sedentary Moderately Active Acitve        
Boys 1,200 1,400-1,600 1,400-1,800
Girls  1,400 1,400-1,600 1,600-2,000

Taking children for monthly visits to healthcare experts for regular checkups helps to keep the parents enlightened about the caloric intake of their children, with regards to adequate growth requirements. Healthcare experts deduce the adequate caloric intake by measuring the child’s weight for height, weight for age, and their growth rate.

What Should 5 Year Olds Eat?

Knowing how many calories should a five year old eat is not enough. Your 5 year old should eat the right foods! Help your children develop a taste for different varieties of foods by encouraging their curiosity, followed by physical exercise to balance the intake of food.

General Guidelines

Growing children have small stomachs and at any one particular time, children about five years of age cannot retain much during meal times. Therefore, small frequent meals, such as 5 reasonably sized meals a day, will help five year olds to cope with the activity and growing strength that is essential for a healthier demeanor. It has been published in USDA’s New Food Guide that 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, 6 portions of grain products, 3-4 ounces of meat, and 2 essential portions of dairy products, are all essential for growing five year olds.

1.    Whole Grains

It is best to avoid any refined grains and to make a habit of using primarily whole grain products for your child’s daily diet. Barley, oats, bran and fiber are perfect components to provide four to five ounces of essential whole grains which contain rich calories for your child’s healthier lifestyle.

2.    Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are significant sources of essential vitamins and minerals that are required for healthy growth. At least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day will provide children with the required vitamin C and vitamin D, both of which are necessary for their bones and mineral stores.

3.    Lean Meats

Three to four ounces of lean meat portions supply adequate quantities of iron, vitamin B and proteins which provide rich calories. Vitamin B ensures a healthy heart as well as a healthy nervous system, while proteins enhance the functions and repair of muscles and other tissues of the body. Iron is essential for supplying adequate amounts of oxygen to the body cells. Deficiency of iron can lead to breathing difficulties.

4.    Low-Fat Dairy

Two cups of low-fat dairy milk or other components, such as cheese or yogurt, provide growing children with suitable vitamin C and calcium supplements. Calcium is essential for strong bones, which are highly significant in the growing bodies of five year olds.

Sample Menu for a Five Year Old

Attempt to serve three main meals with ¾ cup of milk or 100 percent pure juice as an alternative for taste, but do not exceed six ounces of juice daily.

  • Breakfast: One bagel with a teaspoon of butter and fruit salad.
  • Lunch: Half a portion of sliced fruit with half a turkey and cheese sandwich. For greens, add pepper strips with a tasty ranch dressing.
  • Dinner: Half a portion of brown rice with two ounces of fish and four asparagus spears seared in olive oil for vegetable intake.
  • Snacks: A small box of raisins with a ¼ portion of hummus and carrots.

Advice to Get Your Five Year Old to Eat Better

  • Role model. Show curiosity yourself in order to instill curiosity in your children, with regards to trying new flavors in different foods. Role model behavior is the most effective strategy in instilling curiosity as there are no better imitators than children.
  • Family meals. Take meals as a family as much as possible. Inspire your child to follow your lead in eating habits. Children are impressionistic and easily influenced by their parents’ choices in food. This also gives everyone a chance to communicate over a nice meal and share things with each other at the dinner table.
  • Safety precautions. Instruct your children about the rules regarding kitchen utensils and machines. Make it clear that this is for their own safety.
  • Creativity. Develop creative skills in your children by having them assist you in the kitchen. Help them to develop a bond with the food that they eat. Use any creative capabilities they may harbor to have them enjoy healthy food more often.
  • Spend time together. Spend time with your five year olds by playing, walking or even dancing to make sure that they get their physical exercise every day. At that age, the kind of exercise is not important as long as it involves physical movements. Five years olds tend to be very aggressive, which makes it easier for parents to encourage physical excursion on a daily basis.