Healthy Eating At Various Lifestages
Boys 9-13 years old
This information is based on the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Including Recommended Dietary Intakes, the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia, and The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. These recommendations are for healthy children with standardised weight, height and estimated energy requirements and may not meet the specific nutritional requirements of individuals. Specific advice for individual needs should be sought from a qualified dietitian.
Healthy Eating for Boys aged 9-13 yearsThe Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends the following servings per day:
- 6-9 servings for 9-11yr olds or 5-11 serve for 12-13yr olds from the bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles group
There is an allowance of about 20-25g a day for poly or monunsaturated fats and oils that can be used to spread on breads or rolls or used elsewhere in the diet.
- 3 servings for 9-11yr olds or 4 servings for 12-13yr olds from the vegetables, legumes group
- 1 serving of fruit for 9-11yr olds or 3 servings for 12-13 years
- 2 servings for 9-11yr olds or 3 servings for 12-13yr olds from the milk, yoghurt, cheese group
- 1 serving from the lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and legumes group
Note: You get plenty of fats and oils from the amount used with cereal foods and from meat, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, margarine, etc so fats and oils are not included separately.
For more information, check out the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating at: www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-food-resources.htm#consumers
Energy requirements (kilojoules/day)Energy requirements for children vary depending on age, gender, body size and activity levels. For more information on energy requirements for children, see your local dietitian or, as a start, follow this link to the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Including Recommended Dietary Intakes and go to page 18: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/_files/n35.pdf
Physical activityPrimary school age children need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. But remember, more is better - even up to several hours! This can be built up throughout the day with a combination of moderate to vigorous activities. Most importantly, kids need the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that are fun and suit their interests, skills and abilities. Variety will also offer your child a range of health benefits, experiences and challenges. Children in this age group model behaviour from influential adults, so parents can lead the way for their children in pursuing active lives. In addition, children should not be allowed to spend more than 2 hours each day using electronic media for entertainment, particularly at times when they could be enjoying more active pursuits.
Healthy eating for childrenThe food you eat is made up of nutrients (such as carbohydrates, fibre, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins). Some of these nutrients contain energy (in the form of kilojoules) that helps fuel your body.
Children in this age group are generally very active. The growth rate for boys in the 9-13 year age group is steadier than in infancy or in later adolescence, but their nutrient and energy requirements are still greater than for adults relative to their body weight. Children’s meals need to include a variety of foods in order to meet their nutritional needs.
Children in this age group are encouraged to:
- eat a wide variety of nutritious foods
- eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
- eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain
- include lean meat, fish, poultry and /or alternatives (eg nuts or legumes)
- include reduced fat milks, yoghurts, cheeses and or alternatives
- choose water as a drink
- limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
- choose foods low in salt
- consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars.
CalciumCalcium is important for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, nerve function, muscle contractions and heart function. The amount of bone formed exceeds that which is lost from the time of birth until the mid to late 20s. In the mid to late 20s a person reaches their peak bone mass, the maximum density achieved by their bones. Getting enough calcium and exercise during childhood and adolescence is important for increasing bone mass to prevent osteoporosis in later life.
The average requirement for children aged 9-11yrs is 800 mg/day of calcium but because of individual variation some children will need as much as 1,000 mg/day or more. From age 12 to 18 years the average requirement increases to 1,050 mg with some children requiring as much as 1,300 mg/day or more. For boys, 9-11 years who have physically matured early, the recommendations for 12-18 years olds may be more appropriate
Milk and dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and custards are the major sources of calcium in a western diet. Dairy products also provide valuable protein, and vitamins A and B (thiamin, niacin and riboflavin). For children over 2 years, reduced fat dairy foods are recommended. Low or reduced fat dairy products have similar protein, calcium and vitamin values to ‘full fat’ equivalents.
Children who do not eat dairy products (e.g. vegans or those with a diagnosed lactose intolerance) will need to obtain calcium from a non-dairy source. Foods that contain useful amounts of calcium include: leafy green vegetables; wholegrain cereals and breads; canned fish (eaten with bones); legumes (e.g. kidney beans, chick peas, lentils); calcium-fortified soy products; and calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and juice.
Certain factors can interfere with calcium absorption such as a high salt diet, caffeine, soft drinks and aluminium (found in antacids used for indigestion).
IronIron is important for transporting oxygen around the body, and helps to prevent infection. Children who have low intakes of iron are often tired, lack concentration and suffer more from infection. Growth, sweating, and heavy exercise deplete the body’s iron stores, and increase the need to replenish supplies through foods rich in iron.
The dietary iron requirement for boys aged 9-13 years averages 6 mg/day but some boys will require as much as 8mg/day or more.
Red meat is the best source of iron, as well as being a good source of protein and zinc. Other meats such as chicken and fish also contain iron, but not as much as red meat. Generally the darker the meat the more iron it contains, e.g. the darker thigh meat of chicken is richer in iron than the breast.
Iron is also found in leafy green vegetables, legumes and iron-enriched breakfast cereals and breads, but iron from these sources is not as well absorbed as the iron found in meat.
Vitamin C increases iron absorption so adding fruit or other foods rich in vitamin C (such as tomato, broccoli or capsicum) to iron-rich meals will increase the amount of iron absorbed by the body. In contrast, tea, coffee and unprocessed bran can inhibit iron absorption.
BreakfastIt is very important to eat breakfast as the body needs to refuel for the day ahead. Skipping breakfast can lead to a lack of energy and concentration in the classroom. Breakfast foods like cereal with milk, contain many important nutrients such as calcium, iron, dietary fibre and vitamins such as riboflavin and niacin. http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=284&id=2244
Some healthy options are:
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals with reduced fat milk
- Wholegrain toast topped with cheese and tomato or peanut butter (preferably without salt and sugar added) and a glass of reduced fat milk
- Fruit smoothie made with reduced fat milk, or calcium-enriched low fat soy beverage
- Reduced fat yoghurt (plain or with fruit) with perhaps a topping of nuts, dried fruit or muesli
- Baked beans and a poached egg on toast
- Porridge with reduced fat milk topped with fruit.
Choosing a breakfast cereal
- Read the label carefully - check out the FSANZ website at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodmatters/foodlabelling/
- Choose wholegrain cereals, e.g. wheat biscuits, muesli, whole puffed grains, rolled oats. They have more fibre, and more vitamins and minerals than refined cereal products.
- Choose cereals with lower sugar content (cereal sugar content can range from 2 g to 42 g per 100 g; in some cases, such as certain mueslis, there may be some natural sugars present from the fruit which is not as much of a concern as the fruit will also provide other nutrients)
- Choose cereals and bread with lower salt content (e.g. less than 400 mg per 100 g)
- Choose cereals with higher fibre content (more than 3 g per 100 g).
Busy lifestyleBy the time children are in middle primary school both parents are often back at work. It’s hard to shop carefully, cook healthy meals and eat well with a busy lifestyle. Often older children are left at home after school to feed themselves. Sometimes children miss meals because they are at sports training or the family is in a rush at breakfast time. Many meals are takeaways or pre-cooked frozen fast food.
Tips for feeding your children well when you and they are busy
- Plan your shopping list.
- Make sure you buy lots of healthy snack food such as a variety of fruit, dried and nuts, low fat yoghurt, low fat cracker biscuits, low fat cheese
- Buy more at the fruit and vegetables markets (or section) than the grocery store
- Have enough in your cupboards to last the week at least. Don’t run out of healthy food - it’s OK if you run out of the treats
- Don't buy foods with little nutritional value, e.g. sweet biscuits, confectionery, crisps, soft drinks
- Encourage everyone to drink water over any other drink. Take a water bottle each to sports and other activities
- Make breakfast a habit - always have cereal and milk in the cupboard and fridge
- Make lunches the night before and keep in the fridge
- Keep a bowl of washed fruit on the kitchen bench
- Make some low fat wholemeal fruit or vegetable muffins, or wholemeal patty cakes on the weekend, and freeze for the week
- Make a couple of casseroles, stews, curries or pastas on the weekend, store in the freezer divided up into dinner portions then microwave them during the week
- In summer, freeze unsweetened fruit juice with pieces of real fruit in it, or flavoured milk in small iceblock containers
- Have a repertoire of quick recipes that can be prepared from cupboard staples, e.g. pasta with tomato and vegetable or tomato and tuna sauce, rice or noodles with vegetable and nut stir fry, pasta with baked vegetables and pesto sauce
- Slow cookers are very useful. Put a casserole on in the morning and come home to a warm tasty dinner that’s ready to eat. Great for casseroled meats, chick pea curry, or pea and ham soup
- When getting takeaway, choose a healthier option or order a little less and add your own salad or vegetables at home:
- Hamburgers with only a single meat layer, no cheese or low fat cheese, and lots of salad and vegetables
- BBQ chicken with skin removed, with a salad and vegetables
- Kebabs with only a little meat and lots of salad
- Thin crust pizza with more vegetables (ask for less cheese) and make a salad at home to go with it
- For fish and chips ask for grilled fish and order less chips, and add a home-made salad or vegetables
- Some Asian foods are a good choice, e.g. nori or sushi rolls, steamed and braised dishes (not fried).
Eating outIf eating out regularly, avoid going to fast food outlets too often and ‘all you can eat’ buffets so that overeating does not occur. Try other types of restaurants, e.g. Asian, Lebanese, or seafood restaurants to provide some interesting healthy options for the children. As a parent or carer, it is important to stimulate children’s interest in foods and give them a variety of healthy food options.
Healthy snackingMany active growing children need to snack during the day to get the energy they need. The snacks they choose should provide nutrients as well as energy, and be based on foods that children need every day for good health. These foods include breads and cereals, vegetables, legumes and fruits, reduced fat dairy products, lean meats and eggs.
Snacks should be tasty, appealing and nutritious. Variety in colour, texture, flavour, smell and temperature can also spark interest in foods.
Processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, potato crisps and confectionery, and high sugar drinks can contribute lots of kilojoules, but few nutrients. They should therefore be limited in the diet.
Snack suggestions for you and your children
- Fresh fruit: as alternatives to just apples and oranges, try strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, grapes or stone fruits
- Dried fruit: sultanas, apricots, apples, pineapple, paw paw, dates
- Vegetable sticks: carrots, celery, cucumber, green or red capsicum
- Low fat yoghurt - frozen from the fridge mashed with fresh or frozen fruit
- Milkshakes (with fruit and/or yoghurt)
- Cheese sticks
- Natural popcorn
- Homemade frozen juice iceblocks
- Half an English muffin, pita bread, or mini pizza covered with tomato sauce and cheese made in advance, frozen and heated in the microwave
- Fruit bun, raisin toast/bread, pikelets or scones lightly buttered
- Thick soup made with vegetables and a protein such as meat or legume
- Toasted sandwiches filled with tuna, salmon, tomato, or cheese
- Wholemeal biscuits with spreads such as fish paste, tuna, egg or ham
- Crumpets or muffins lightly buttered
- Corn or rice cakes with peanut butter, mashed banana, yeast extract (eg vegimite, promite, Marmite etc) or cheese
- Cheese slices melted on toast or crackers
- Breakfast cereal with low fat milk.
Example of a Healthy Meal Plan for a 12 year old boyFor this example we have based the daily energy requirement on a 12-year-old boy, weighing about 40 kg and about 150cms tall, with a moderately active life. He walks to school, plays at lunchtime and after school and plays a team sport on the weekend.
The meal plan is designed as a guide only, and meets recommended dietary intakes. The meal plan is for a single day; the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating a variety of foods every day to meet nutritional needs. For example in the plan below, our 12-year-old boy has a slice of roast beef for lunch and fish for dinner. Tomorrow he might choose a different protein such as baked beans for lunch and have chicken for dinner. If he has pumpkin, beans, corn and potato tonight, he might have sweet potato, carrot and peas tomorrow. With variety in his diet he will be sure to be getting the whole range of essential nutrients that he needs for health and vitality.
- About 10,500 kilojoules/day (2,500 cal/day)
|Oat flakes cereal||45g||710||3.9||2.2||32.3||34|
|Reduced fat milk||4/5 cup||420||8||2.9||10.9||101|
|Mixed grain fruit bread||1 slice||667||4.6||2.2||28.6||129|
|Polyunsaturated margarine||2 teaspoons||248||0||6.7||0||50|
|Wholemeal bread||2 slices||463||4.6||1.4||18.2||233|
|Carrot, raw||1 small||65||0.4||0.01||2.7||23|
Lunch – Roast beef and salad roll
|Wholemeal bread roll||1 large||849||7.6||2.7||34.6||414|
|Roast beef||1 thin slice||158||6.3||1.4||0||13|
|Tomato||2 thin slices||20||0.3||0||0.6||2|
|Lettuce||1 cup of torn leaves||12||0.2||0||0.3||3|
|Celery||1 small stalk||11||0.1||0||0.4||15|
|Peanut butter, no added sugar or salt||3 teaspoons||487||5.2||9.7||1.5||0.2|
|w/meal crispbread||4 biscuits||448||2.6||3.8||14.9||175|
|cheese, 50% reduced fat||1 slice||233||6.6||3.3||0||145|
|Tomato||2 thin slices||20||0.3||0||0.6||2|
|Baked beans||1 small can||323||4.6||0.5||11.2||80|
|Fortified chocolate beverage||4 teaspoons||107||0.9||0.7||4.1||20|
|Reduced fat milk||1 cup||510||9.8||3.5||13.3||123|
Dinner – Baked Fish & Vegetables
|Baked fish||1 small fillet||588||27.7||3.2||0||128|
|Baked pumpkin||2 pieces||107||1.1||0.1||3.7||3|
|Baked potato||1 medium||384||2.7||0.5||17.2||43|
|Sunflower oil for baking||3 teaspoons||511||0||13.8||0||0|
|Corn||1 small cob||288||2||0.6||12.7||5|
|Low fat custard||1/3 cup||256||2.8||0.8||11||35|
|Stewed apricots, unsweetened||3 halves||109||0.5||0.1||4.7||1|
|Wholemeal low fat fruit muffin||1 small||495||2.7||3.9||17.2||221|
|Reduced fat milk||1 cup||510||9.8||3.5||13.3||123|
Variation to energy expenditure depending on physical activity level for a boy 12 years, about 1.49 m in height, weighing about 40.5 kg
Energy requirement (kJ/day)
|At rest, exclusively sedentary or lying eg debilitated or those unable to move freely||7,000kJ/day|
|Exclusively sedentary lifestyle with little or no strenuous exercise, for someone seated most of the day||8,200 – 8,750kJ/day|
|Sedentary lifestyle with little or no strenuous exercise eg seated occupations with some requirement for walking and standing||9,300 – 9,900 kJ/day|
|A lifestyle that involves predominantly standing or walking||10,500 – 11,050kJ/day|
|Highly active leisure eg high performance athletes.||11,600-12,800+kJ/day|
When accessing large documents (over 500 KB in size), it is recommended that the following procedure be used:
- Click the link with the RIGHT mouse button
- Choose "Save Target As.../Save Link As..." depending on your browser
- Select an appropriate folder on a local drive to place the downloaded file
Attempting to open large documents within the browser window (by left-clicking)
may inhibit your ability to continue browsing while the document is
opening and/or lead to system problems.
To view PDF (Portable Document Format) documents, you will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer. A number of PDF readers are available through the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Web Guide website.