Diets For Kids

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

diet-for-kidsDiet and nutrition for kids is a challenge. Most children are bombarded with persuasive and attractive advertising from a very young age. Most foods advertised tend to be high in sugar or salt and are often sponsored by colorful cartoon characters.

Children need to be given a choice and must be allowed to eat little and often.

Major Food Groups


There is no need for children to eat low-fat products. Fats are a necessary component of anyone’s diet. The issue with fat is that of moderation due to the higher calorie content of fats. Some of the more important fats required in childhood development are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats.

Sources of omega-3 are tuna, salmon, sesame seeds, nuts, sardines. (Note that nuts are not suitable for very young children due to a choking risk.

Sources of omega-6 are Avocado, sunflower seeds, corn, almonds.


Protein is essential but needs to be moderated in children so as not to overload the kidneys. Good protein sources include; Eggs, milk, cheese, unflavored yogurts, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, fish, and even some grains such as oats and millet.


There is never any need to reduce carbohydrates in children and it should make up the biggest portion of their diets. Many children receive their carbohydrates from sugary juices, candies, processed breakfast foods, and many other snack foods.

Good carbohydrate choices include; Fruits, vegetables, bread, crackers, whole grain cereals, unsweetened muesli.

Weight Loss for Kids and Teenagers

Children who are overweight should never go on restrictive diets or even have foods restricted. Any approach should include the entire family and result in improving the diet of the parents as well as the children.

The program must address behavioral issues as well as nutritional issues.

SparkTeens Free service that offers teens, parents, and teachers the tools and support they need to be healthy or encourage the teens in their lives to get fit. From the creators of  SparkPeople.
Trim Kids (book) A 12 week program suitable for children, pre-teens, and teenagers.
Slim Kids A smaller program aimed specifically at children.

Meal Plan Ideas for Kids


  • Low-sugar granola. Can be served with milk, chopped banana, or diluted fruit juice.
  • Cup of cornflakes with chopped apple and/or chopped nuts.
  • Scrambled eggs on toast, perhaps with plain yogurt and berries.
  • Oatmeal with raisins.
  • Baked beans on toast with a small glass of whole milk.


  • Baked potato with tuna.
  • Shepherd’s pie and green vegetables.
  • Macaroni cheese and green vegetables.
  • Chicken and lentil soup.
  • Pasta with ham and peas.
  • Tuna sandwich


  • Omelet with green beans.
  • Lamb with small new potatoes lightly roasted (not fried) in olive oil.
  • Tuna with pasta bows and vegetables.
  • Pita bread with chicken slices and sliced sweet red peppers.
  • Salmon fillet with mashed potato and ratatouille.
  • Chicken and mixed vegetable casserole.


  • Cup of plain popcorn (home-made).
  • Fruit and unsalted mixed nuts.
  • Cream cheese on oatcakes and grapes.
  • Smoothie made of milk and red berries.
  • Unsweetened nut butter (almond is popular with children) on toast.
  • Sliced carrots and celery with avocado dip.
  • Fresh fruit salad with oat pancake.

Find more tasty meal ideas for your kids here.


  • Rockett, H. R., & Colditz, G. A. (1997). Assessing diets of children and adolescents. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 65(4), 1116S-1122S. link
  • Dwyer, J. (1980). Diets for children and adolescents that meet the dietary goals. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 134(11), 1073-1080. link
  • Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2012). Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. Jama, 307(5), 483-490. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: May 4, 2015. Disclaimer


  1. Rojelio

    hi i am rojelio and i’m 13 years and i’m 175 pounds but i really want to lose weight but somehow i just cant. i really need help and advice.

  2. Anonymous

    I was just reading all these comments. I’m 17, and yes, sometimes I have “fat” days. But I honestly feel sad for all these young ladies and men on here that are worried about their weight.
    You’re all unique. The media shows of unhealthily thin bodies as “beauty”. It’s unrealistic. I read one comment about a girl wanting to lose weight to impress their boyfriend. If that’s the type of guy he is, then sweetie, he’s not worth it. It’s the blatant truth. I’m 17 and weigh somewhere between 78kg and 85kg. I’m not very tall either. I’m 159m tall. I have a boyfriend who tells me that I’m beautiful. He actually gets upset that I have those “fat” days, because he sees me as beautiful, no matter what. (We don’t sleep together at all, either. So the point of that is he looks at the inside first off, then appreciates the outside.) (And he’s a very good looking guy.. not that it’s what it’s about… Personality is what matters.)
    Girls, you are all relly young, and whether you’re slim or not (whatever that actually means these day, with the media messing with the minds of beautiful young girls…) you’re bound to slim down as you grow up. While you are young, appreciate who you are. Some very “skinny” girls are not very happy people. You are all beautiful in your own ways. YOu are all very talented. Weight, although can knock our self esteem, is not the most important thing. Appreciate yourselves, because if you are the real you, you’ll have friends who will stick by you through thick and thin. Don’t pretend to be anybody else.

  3. Anonymous

    This makes me so sad to read these comments. I am a mother of two girls and it breaks my heart to think that they may feel this way too some day. If you want REAL weight loss that stays off you need to stick to a healthy plan. The one above is fine, but there are many other things you can add to it. Talk to your doctor or parents if you can. There are people out there who can help. One thing that most people are not aware of is that diet is about 80% of weight loss, and exercise takes up the rest. Also, you need to make sure that you eat enough healthy foods or you will slow down your metabolism making it even harder to lose the weight…and it will eventually come back. A basic guideline to losing weight and staying healthy is to eat small meals every 3 hours then stop about 3-4 hours before bedtime. Make sure you have some protein and carbs at each meal and drink lots of water. Stay away from “diet” foods as they won’t contribute to your well being. Make sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day (ask your dr). Even a long walk is better than nothing. If you are watching tv, do sit ups, pushups or skip rope. These things take time, but if you REALLY want to lose the weight FOR GOOD you need to be consistent. I also urge you to talk to your doctor. There may be underlying medical problems as well. Medical professionals can help. Good luck.

  4. a fat girl

    hi I’m 11 and I weigh 116 ponds I’m tired of everyone calling me fat excpeccaly AT school I get so sad and just want to. Cry I just don’t know what to do

  5. nkfan39

    OMG! Help me! school weight tests are in 2 days and im not fat but not skinny its my muscle that makes most of my weight but whenever the nurses take my weight i see shock in thier faces. im 12 and 141 pounds… stinks!!!

  6. Hannah

    Hi I’m 11 and weigh 137 pounds it really does discust me but I’m tring to loose 20 pound in 4 mounths so I hope it works!!! thanks

  7. teagirl13

    dear Kali im also 13 and i weigh 172 my mom weighed that when she was pregnet soo i gue s we can work on this if you can dance like shakira then try it helps ALOT ive been doing that for 2 weeks and b4 i stared i weighed 186 so try it k

    alaways in the obese

  8. (:

    heyy everyone im 13 nd 145 im 5’5. i look pretty skinny its just cause i have alotta mustle. everyone who is saying they weigh 65 lbs at 13 and 14 and saying there fat.. give it a break.. its okay your not fat. trust me.. last year i thought i was so fat i didnt even wanna wear a bathing im wearing a bikini cuz before i was very unself confident.. not anymore(: im very confident in my look and i think you should be too. just live life and be happy. dont get too huge or u wont be happy.

  9. Roxxi

    Yuck –
    Candy and sweets may look yummy but if u could see how much fat is in it… yuck. Only have sweets for ocasions like ur birthday or sumthin.

  10. mat

    this has worked so much for me

  11. Katyln

    WOW! thanks for this site i hope it works

  12. lil missy

    i aint fat but i aint slim eather…. y do u make a big fuss about being fat??? just be urself. yes somtimes i feel fat 2 but just b proud that u r able 2 eat and drink n have a goodlife while other people on the other side of the world are starving and dont have homes, warmth, familys n good food and drink. so stop complaining with ur life and enjoy it while u can. and 4 any girls that r young n they fink they r fat dont worri bout it, it will go in2 ur boobs!!! (29th september 2008)

  13. somebody fat

    hi i am 12, going to be 13 in january and i really feel like i am fat! i weigh 109lbs!!!! my friends all say that i am skinny and wish they could be like me. they range from 110-130. they dont look fat at all!!! idk y i feel fat around them but i do! i feel like i am developing a gut and it looks horrible. i hate how my stomach looks when i sit down and i feel like i have a gut even when im standing up. i was in gymnastics for 6 years and had a 6 pack and i really want it back! im thinking about joining gymnastics again! besides my gut, i think i have an awsome body! (if u know what i mean… BOOBS!!) i would love my body if i could just lose the gut! i hope this diet works! wish me luck! i only wanna loose 9 lbs…

  14. Sad Sara 12

    Well im from Australia, so that means i dont do pounds, i have no idea how to measure nyself in pounds, but i am 12 yrs old and i weigh 61kg’s but but but, i am very tall so i dont look fat and i am not fat for my height, im just a little chubby and im one of those girls who put on weight in the thighs nothing else, so yeh im just chubby, but i really want to be fit cause its spring now, and its nice N warm now, so i want to go swimming which i love doing, but in where i live there are 4 pools, but they are always crowded and im too embarrassed to go out in my swimmers. hope this works cause i get humiliated at school to, teased ,etc. it hurts what people say to me. anywayzz hope this works for me, and if it does i hope it works for me for the rest of my life, so i can live life,etc… that would make me so happy, and then i can impress my boyfriend, so im good enough for him.

  15. corrine

    I feel so fat! OMG I am thirteen and I am 106.5. I really just want to get rid of that little bump of fat under my belly butten but dont know how!
    Plez help me I’m almost in high school and will not be made fun of

  16. vicky l.

    i am 14 and i weigh 240 puonds. i hope this works

  17. Angela

    I dont know how to stop eating ive tried but then i starve myself i hope this works and i will go on a walk with my dad (even if i dont feel like it) after i have a lesson.

  18. kayleigh

    this diet is good…(exept not for me because im a pescetarian xD) The diet alone won’t make you loose the weight you want to. You need the exercise as well. try going for a walk after dinner. I do and it really helps. =D

  19. kaia

    i hope this works im 10 and 125 lbs

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