We base many of our recommendations of well-recognised guidelines like 5-a-day for fruit and vegetables as well as The Department of Health’s guidance on the vitamin and mineral needs of growing children.
Energy (calorie) requirements in children are highly variable as factors such as growth, gender, current weight and physical activity play a big role in determining energy needs.
As a guide to energy needs of children at different stages, the app will draw on information from the estimated average requirements (EAR), based on the 2011 SACN report as a guide.
We have also used this information to make recommendations on protein, fat and carbohydrate intake based on the proportion of energy these should provide to your child.
It should be noted that these are intended for population use and not for individual children. For certain age groups and nutrients, there are no set guidelines. For example, it is recommended that children under 4 do not have any free sugar. In cases such as this, the app will suggest parents give their children minimal amounts of food contain free sugar and this will display the recommended amount as 0.
Children’s energy intake should ideally be spread out between the food groups. This formula will allow the app to estimate the amount of energy the child needs per day to maintain their growth. Keep in mind that the energy requirements will vary according to the activity levels, age, weight and even gender of the child.
The more data we have, the more accurate we can be about the energy needs of your child. Using their body weight, height and activity level we can get a more individualised estimate of daily calorie needs. For example, if a 2-year-old boy or girl weighs 9.0kg/19lbs and is 74cm/29 inches and is physically active for at least 3 hours a day, will need around 765 and 717 calories respectively per day.