Joan’s 2-year old boy was hungry all the time. She fed him every hour and he constantly asked for food. When I asked her what she was feeding him she revealed a diet consisting mostly of fruits and vegetables, grains, some protein and very little dietary fat. Once she filled out his diet with more fat and protein, his hunger calmed down.
Why? He was finally getting the calories and filling foods his growing body needed.
In a world where healthy eating is pressed at a very early age, parents need reminding that a “healthy” diet for kids is different than one for adults. And this especially holds true when it comes to dietary fat for children.
In part 3 in our Kids’ Nutrition Series, we’re talking about fat’s role in kids’ diets and how you can make sure your child is getting enough — and the right types — of fat.
Dietary Fat 101
Fat is an essential part of a well balanced diet. It has the advantage of carrying more energy for a smaller volume supplying twice as many calories (9 calories/gram) as protein or carbohydrates. This is why children under two require more fat — they have tiny stomachs but extraordinary energy needs. Breast milk and formula contain anywhere from 40 to 55% energy as fat.