How to Feed Children? According to their age.

Children From 4 to 11 Years Old 


From four to eleven years of age, we must establish two periods: the preschool stage,

which ranges from four to six years old, and the school stage, from six to eleven years old.

In the preschool stage, the growth rate is less than in the first year of life.

A correct nutritional education is essential since these ages constitute the beginning of a transcendental period for the acquisition of healthy eating habits.

During the school period, growth and weight gain are slow but uniform.

It is a stage of preparation for the development and growth characteristic of adolescence (pubertal lug) that will ensue later.

It is important to continue with the formation of good eating habits and a balanced diet, both at home and at school.

Regarding both stages, school-age boys and girls need the same food as younger children, but in greater quantity to cover their energy and nutritional needs.


Physiological characteristics

During preschool and school-age there is a decrease in the growth rate about development during the first year of life and adolescence.

Increase in weight and height:

From four years of age, the growth rate until the beginning of adolescence is about 2.5 to 3.5 kg per year.

Regarding height, it increases at a rate of about 5-8 cm per year until the start of puberty.

However, not all boys and girls grow at this rate, genetic factors must be taken into account (ethnicity, size of family members by both mother and father), health status, and, of course, eating habits.

Weight and height are the two easiest parameters to obtain to measure a good or bad diet.

If the diet is unbalanced (either by excess or by default), alterations in the growth rate may occur.

The first way that insufficient nutrition manifests itself is through weight.

If the situation is not resolved, size is also affected, as well as body composition, among other aspects.

Hence the importance of changing incorrect eating habits as soon as possible.

On the other hand, if there is a real problem of overweight in children, it is best to go to a specialist.

His advice will serve to clarify doubts and concerns and make an adequate diet plan (never strict) that does not alter the way of life,

Guidelines For Eating Well

Boys and girls are constantly growing and developing bones, teeth, muscles, etc so they require a higher proportion of nutrients, relative to their weight, than adults.

The energy or calorie needs are determined based on your basal metabolism (energy expenditure in resting conditions that occur from vital functions pumping blood, breathing, maintaining body temperature, etc.),

the rhythm of growth and mainly, of their activity level (very variable from one child to another)

Certain measures will not only help in these ages to cover their nutritional needs but also adopt adequate dietary habits to achieve a healthier future.

One of them is getting them used to eating all kinds of food as soon as possible and tasting different flavors, from the one that has a simple mashed potato to the combination of flavors of a fruit salad.

Vegetables and fish generally have a reputation for not being appreciated by children,

but when they are well combined and attractive, they tend to be better accepted; a plate of boiled spinach, without more,

will not have the same attraction as some spinach au gratin with béchamel sauce and cheese, sprinkled with a little tomato sauce.

 Another useful measure is to explain what the different foods are for, promoting health as the maximum goal of all good nutrition.

Likewise, everything related to shopping, preparing meals, preparing the table, etc., can be an opportunity to learn and enjoy food.

General Characteristics of the Diet

The diet must be varied and balanced, to avoid nutritional deficits.

Menus must be adapted to the individual, family, and economic characteristics in each case.

In younger children, when introducing new foods, it should be done gradually and at the beginning of each meal, when the child has more appetite.

It is advisable to insist in this way several times until the child gets used to and becomes fond of food.

 Food should never be used as a reward or punishment, as this can lead to negative eating behaviors: whims, rejection, or aversion to certain foods.

If the child does not eat during a meal, wait until the next feeding in order not to miss the rhythm of the schedules.

 Know the school menus and complete them with meals at home.

Moderate the consumption of “empty calories” (sweets, sweets, snacks), especially between the main meals, so that they eat what they have to eat on time.

 Keep in mind that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day.

It must include at least one dairy product and cereals (biscuits, breakfast cereals, toasts, simple pastries).

If a fruit or its juice is also included, even better.

At lunch or snack, you should favor the intake of snacks prepared at home, fruits, and dairy products, without abusing sausages, pates, and fatty cheeses.

The structure of a conventional meal must be composed of:

First course

Rice, legumes, pasta, salads, or vegetables with potatoes, in which some meat or meat derivatives, fish, eggs, etc. can be added to complete occasionally.

The nutritional value of this first dish is the energy contribution, mainly at the expense of complex carbohydrates.

It is important to get children used to taking it because energy needs are the first to be met if proteins in food are to fulfill the function of forming tissues and promoting growth in the body.

Second Course

 Meats, meat derivatives, fish, or eggs.

These foods should appear in moderate amounts (hunger should not be satiated with protein)

They can be accompanied by a side of salad or vegetables or legumes (sausage with white beans, fish with peas, etc.)

or potatoes (not always fried, also baked, pureed)

It is advisable to include fish (white and blue) and eggs at least 3-4 times a week, up to three times a week.

Desserts: It is best to include a fruit and alternate with simple dairy products (yogurt, petit Suisse, etc.)

Avoid excessive consumption of sugary soft drinks (cola, lemonade, orangeade) and other commercial drinks.

Substitute them for natural juices, homemade milkshakes, yogurt, or fruit.

Do not offer them any type of alcoholic drink even if it is of low alcohol content such as cider or beer with soda.

Most Common Nutritional Deficits

The main causes of nutritional deficits are insufficient caloric intake, monotonous or repetitive or restrictive diets,

decreased appetite, rejection of fruits and vegetables, and low consumption of other basic foods: dairy, fish, etc.

As a consequence, and based on the results obtained from different European studies,

a significant percentage of risk intakes are observed for the following nutrients:

  1. Vitamin A: abundant in complete dairy products and vegetables and fruits in the form of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A.
  2. Folic acid: in legumes and green vegetables, fruits, enriched breakfast cereals, and liver)
  3. Vitamin C: in citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lime, lemon), strawberries, melon, and vegetables (from the cabbage, pepper, tomato … family)


  1. It is recommended to keep mealtimes from one day to the next and not skip any feed.
  2. Distribute food in 4 or 5 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, lunch, snack, and dinner).

Breakfast: or with other activities such as watching television.

Lunches and/or snacks

it is recommended that they be light so that they give way to lunch or dinner.

Limit industrial pastry products, snacks, soft drinks, and sweets that “fill” but do not nourish (superfluous foods with

high-calorie content, to consume in small quantities and sporadically)


In our society, food constitutes the main food intake of the day and is the meeting moment that favors the family

relationship and the teaching or learning of eating habits.

For this reason, a calm, calm climate should be promoted, without interference (TV, radio, animals) Anarchy in the schedules,

the preparation of food at the last minute, long interruptions between plate and plate, shouting and constant scolding,

eating very quickly, and uncomfortable situations due to lack of space.

On the contrary, efforts will be made to stimulate appropriate behaviors with positive reinforcements such as: “you eat like a senior”, “it is nice to see you eat”,

“I am very happy with how well you have eaten”, “so you will grow a lot and have a lot of strength.”, etc.

The presentation of the dishes must be taken care of, temperature and order and cleanliness of the table.

The food should be varied, complete, and according to the needs of the child.


It should be another meeting time around the table, in a quiet environment, and avoiding distractions.

Dinner should be lighter than lunch, and as soon as possible

so that you have time to digest and sleep well.



For the little ones, the dishes will be prepared simply, with

softer flavors, less seasoned, so that they can identify the real flavor of each food.

 Prefer the simplest and softest culinary techniques: with

water – cooked, steam, poached, oven, papillote, microwave, griddle and sautéed with little oil.

Moderate fatty casseroles and stews (best with little oil and

removing visible fat from food before cooking), frying, breading, and battering.

 To make the food more appetizing, various condiments can be used:

Acids: vinegar and lemon.

Aromatic herbs: basil, fennel, cumin, tarragon, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, parsley, marjoram.

Spices: pepper, paprika, saffron.

Without abusing since they are difficult to digest and create a habit.



A glass of milk with cocoa or sugar, toast with butter and jam.


Liquid yogurt, maria cookies, and a fruit of the time.


Vegetable paella

Roast chicken accompanied by salad (lettuce, tomato, onion).

Seasonal fruit and bread.


Milkshake and mortadella bread.


Noodle soup and chopped vegetables.

French omelet with one egg and cod croquettes.

Seasonal fruit and bread.


(recipe for 4 people)


240 grams of rice,

3-4 garlic cloves, 1 small onion,

1 tray of mushrooms,

3 green peppers, 1 can of peas,

6 fish sticks, tomato sauce, water, oil, and salt.