Good nutrition is essential for all, with specific needs dependent upon age. Children require iron to support energy levels during growth spurts – which usually happen around 10-11 years for girls and 12-13 for boys – as well as plenty of kilojoules from food that contains both nutrients and calories that provide energy rather than empty calories.


Infants have very particular nutritional requirements. Since they can easily become dehydrated, adequate fluid consumption should be met. Furthermore, infants require concentrated energy from fat sources like oily fish, avocados and nuts; vitamin A supports healthy skin development; this vitamin can be obtained through foods like eggs and milk.

Babies should begin eating nutritionally-dense complementary foods at around six months of age. Complementary foods are those which supplement breast or formula milk, such as vegetables and fruits, rice cereal, and protein-rich pureed meats. Infants may require additional iron supplements early after birth if breastfeeding or iron-fortified formula do not provide enough. Vitamin D supplements may also be given if there is insufficient sun exposure.

At 12 months, babies should transition to whole cow’s milk or fortified soy milk, although homemade or commercially prepared plant-based alternatives don’t provide as balanced a source of nutrition at this stage. Parents should avoid offering homemade milks or commercial plant-based alternatives as these do not meet baby’s nutrient needs at this age.

Infants and toddlers should select a balanced diet from all five food groups — vegetables, fruit, grain foods, dairy and proteins. Avoid food and drinks high in added sugars, salt and saturated or trans fats; wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly prior to feeding them and don’t peel until advised by a healthcare provider; aim for low sodium consumption while including plenty of potassium, calcium, vitamin D and folic acid-rich sources in their diets.


Children aged one to three require a variety of food in their diet in order to meet their nutritional requirements. With high energy needs and limited stomach space, regular scheduled meals and snacks are key during this stage in development. Toddlerhood marks rapid physical, cognitive, emotional growth.

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Toddlers and preschoolers need a balanced diet with protein (which aids muscle development), carbohydrates, vegetables and dairy as well as natural fruits without added sugars or salt.

Carbs should come from whole grains. Bread, pastas, couscous, rice and potatoes should all be included as sources of carbohydrates in your diet – be sure to choose both white and whole grain varieties so as to receive an array of essential vitamins and minerals from both sources. Incorporating starchy vegetables like corn, peas and beans as sources of starchy carbohydrates would also provide important essentials nutrients; frozen or canned fruit/veggies might be beneficial to provide additional vitamins/minerals too!

Children should be introduced to new foods gradually and encouraged to develop a positive relationship with food. Fussier eating at this age is common; however, this shouldn’t be cause for alarm provided they’re consuming some from all major food groups and active and growing weight.

Dairy products provide toddlers and preschoolers with essential calcium sources, including milk, cheese and yogurt in appropriate amounts. Starting children on low fat milk has been shown to significantly improve health outcomes over full fat alternatives. Furthermore, children require some form of protein (red meat, chicken, fish eggs or pulses such as beans baked beans chickpeas and lentils are ideal sources for this) in order to provide essential amino acids essential for growth and development.


Children require a variety of foods and beverages to meet their nutritional needs, with foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and salt (sodium). Children also should drink plenty of fluids throughout the day in order to foster growth and development and prevent dehydration. Nutritious options should include whole grains (pasta, breads and cereals), fruits, vegetables, lean meats seafood eggs beans peas soy products unsalted nuts low-fat dairy as well as sugary drinks or overly processed snacks like cakes cookies candies etc.

Children and adolescents generally require fewer calories than adults, yet often consume too many energy-dense foods and don’t drink enough water. Furthermore, they may be lacking essential fiber, iron, potassium and vitamins A & C while simultaneously indulging in too much sodium from salty fast food and other sources.

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Adolescent girls experiencing a growth spurt need a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. To maximize muscle development, these girls must consume more calcium-rich foods like milk and milk products, fortified soy beverages, fruits and vegetables as well as more protein for muscle maintenance.

Adolescents typically have higher nutritional needs than other age groups due to the rapid rate of their growth spurt, such as calcium and iron. Furthermore, adolescents require additional carbohydrates from whole grains, fruit, vegetables and limited starchy food like potatoes and sweet potatoes; and additional proteins from lean meats/fish/beans/lentils/nuts as their body builds muscle mass over time. With age comes more vitamin D/iodine/K and less potassium consumption – though.


Adolescence’s rapid physical development requires plenty of energy from nutrient-rich food. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats should be prioritized; to promote optimal results it’s also important to limit foods high in saturated fat, added sugars or sodium intake.

Most teens have an insatiable appetite and may not be getting enough calories. By including nutritious snacks in their daily meal plans and also including snacks between meals, healthful weight can be maintained. Teens should ideally aim to consume three to five healthy meals and snacks every day as part of a weight management strategy.

Calcium, iron and protein needs increase with adolescence; girls may notice their iron requirements increasing upon menarche while boys’ protein requirements increase as they build lean muscle mass.

Adolescents should strive to consume 1,300 mg of calcium daily from low-fat dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals, in addition to 30 to 40 g of fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables daily. Flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon oil or canola oil should all provide healthy sources of omega-3 fats that should also be included as part of this goal.

Protein is an essential building block of the human body, and healthy teens should aim to consume about 1/2 gram per pound of bodyweight each day as part of their daily nutrition. Good sources include eggs, lean meats, beans, nuts and fish. Fats provide energy and support cellular functions; it’s important that adolescents consume polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats over trans or saturated ones in order to avoid raising “bad” cholesterol and possibly leading to heart disease.

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Young adults have reached an age where physical development has mostly plateaued, yet proper nutrition remains crucial to overall wellbeing and overall health. Making smart choices during young adulthood will have lasting ramifications on health and wellness throughout life.

Adults should eat plenty of foods that provide protein, such as meat, fish, poultry eggs dairy products and fortified soy alternatives, fruit vegetables and whole grains containing proteins such as meat. Also recommended is consuming a diet low in sodium which contributes to high blood pressure as well as saturated and trans fat which increase risk for heart disease and stroke.

Many adults remain physically active throughout their lives, which may alter their dietary requirements. Athletes typically need more fluids than others in order to avoid dehydration and enhance exercise performance; however, sugary beverages and alcohol should be limited. A diet rich in fibre such as oatmeal, barley, rye, wheat, brown rice nuts seeds fruits vegetables are all great sources of this dietary component.

People 51 years and older often require lower caloric needs but similar or increased nutritional requirements compared to younger adults, due to factors like reduced physical activity, changes in metabolism and a loss of muscle mass which contributes to bone weakness (sarcopenia). Acquiring adequate levels of proteins, vitamin D, calcium and B12 becomes increasingly important as people age.