Know the Dietary Needs of Different Life Stages
Infancy 0-3 years
New-born babies are unique in that they can rely on a single food, milk, in order to meet all their nutritional needs. At six months babies are introduced to solid foods this process is called ‘weaning’. At eight months, lumpier food can be introduced although some babies take longer than others to learn how to chew and swallow lumps. A toddler can then be given cow’s milk (full-fat milk) and they should be eating a varied diet. They will start to eat more solid foods with the rest of the family. Their diet should contain enough carbohydrates to provide a good source of energy for crawling etc.
Childhood 4-10 years
Energy requirements will be high so they will need a diet that reflects their growing needs. It is a good stage to set good diet habits for the future. We should encourage social skills, such as eating with a knife and fork and drinking from a cup at a table. Also encourage them to regularly brush their teeth.
Adolescence 11-18 years
A lot of changes take place in the body at this age, so the body needs enough energy in the food they eat. Causing a larger appetite but should still be balanced. They should be informed about the risks of severe dieting that some teenagers are susceptible to.
Adults 19-65 years
This age group should limit their intake of carbohydrates and fats to avoid heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Adults should also be advised about the safe intake of alcohol per week; women – 14 units and men – 21 units.
Older people 65+ years
As we age more we become less mobile, so our energy requirements decrease slightly. Older people still need good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals.