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 Nutritional Programs: Nutritional Programs for Childhood 

Many parents overestimate their children’s needs and the amount of food required (which we do for ourselves as well). It is best to create simple meals and serve smaller portions more frequently throughout the day. Needs for calories and many of the basic nutrients will vary from ages two through ten. Obviously, with increased size and activity, the older children will need more food, which they naturally will eat. The more we can support them in avoiding empty calories, the better chance they will have of optimum growth. During the middle years, the average youngster will gain between five and eight pounds and grow about one-half inch per year, provided they have the nutrients they need. Support a healthy amount of physical activity in place of laziness or too much TV and telephone.

As insurance to prevent nutrient deficiencies, many parents want their children to take some supplements. Chewables are still a favorite, though as they grow, many kids can swallow pills and capsules. Powdered formulas can be added to foods. The nutrient levels shown in the table reflect the RDAs plus a little insurance for the special needs of children between the ages of two and eleven.

Daily Nutrient Program for Childhood

2–4 Years 4–6 Years 6–11 Years
Calories1,300–1,600 1,600–2,1002,100–2,800
Protein 23–28 g. 30–35 g.35–45 g.
Vitamin A2500 IUs 3000 IUs 4000 IUs
Vitamin D400 IUs 400 IUs400 IUs
Vitamin E15 IUs 20 IUs25 IUs
Vitamin K30 mcg. 40 mcg.60 mcg.
Thiamine (B1)0.8 mg. 1.0 mg.1.5 mg.
Riboflavin (B2)1.0 mg. 1.2 mg.1.6 mg.
Niacin (B3)10 mg. 12 mg.17 mg.
Pantothenic acid (B5)4 mg. 4 mg.5 mg.
Pyridoxine (B6)1.0 mg. 1.5 mg.2.0 mg.
Cobalamin (B12)3 mcg. 4 mcg.5 mcg.
Folic acid150 mcg. 250 mcg.350 mcg.
Biotin75 mcg. 100 mcg.150 mcg.
Vitamin C100 mg. 150 mg.200 mg.
Calcium800 mg. 800 mg. 850 mg.
Chloride1.0 g. 1.5 g. 2.0 g.
Chromium80 mcg. 120 mcg.200 mcg.
Copper1.5 mg. 2.0 mg.2.5 mg.
Fluoride1.5 mg. 2.0 mg.2.5 mg.
Iodine80 mcg. 100 mcg.125 mcg.
Iron15 mg. 12 mg.12 mg.
Magnesium200 mg. 250 mg.300 mg.
Manganese2.0 mg. 2.5 mg.3.0 mg.
Molybdenum125 mcg. 200 mcg.300 mcg.
Phosphorus800 mg. 800 mg.800 mg.
Potassium1.5 g. 2.0 g.2.5 g.
Selenium100 mcg. 150 mcg. 200 mcg.
Sodium1.0 g. 1.3 g.1.8 g.
Zinc10 mg. 10 mg.10 mg.
(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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