It is very important for children to get the recommended amount of calories. The actual number of calories that a child needs can vary, depending on his age and activity level. Below are some caloric recommendations for children based on their age group:
One to three years old
Children who are between the ages of one and three only need 900-1000 calories per day. That is approximately half of the recommendation for an adult. Children in this age group need to eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They also need a lot of calcium-based products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Children grow very fast between the ages of one and three, which is why calcium is one of the critical nutrients. Calcium helps the bones grow and develop normally.
Four to eight years old
Up until the age of four, boys and girls need the same amount of calories per day. When boys turn four, they have a slightly higher metabolism than girls. That is why they need more calories. Girls need about 1200 calories per day and boys need about 1400 calories per day.
Nine to thirteen years old
Children in this age group are growing at a rapid rate. Most of them are also beginning to go through puberty. That is why the caloric needs in this age group can vary greatly. Boys who are sedentary need about 1800 calories per day. Girls who are inactive need about 1600 calories per day.
Active children need much more than the minimum requirements. Girls who engage in sports or other vigorous activities need about 2200 calories per day. Boys who are very active need about 2600 calories per day. It is also important for active children to eat a lot of protein-based foods such as, lean meat and beans.