Some people watch their calories if they are trying to lose weight. Most kids don't need to do this, but all kids can benefit from eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes the right number of calories — not too many, not too few.
But how do you know how many calories you need? Kids come in all sizes and each person's body burns energy calories at different rates, so there isn't one perfect number of calories that every kid should eat. But there is a recommended range for most kids between 6 and 12 years old: 1, to 2, per day, depending on how active they are. When they reach puberty, girls need more calories than before, but they tend to need fewer calories than boys.
As boys enter puberty, they may need as many as 2, to 3, calories per day, especially if they are very active. But whether they are girls or boys, kids who are active and move around a lot need more calories than kids who don't. If you eat more calories than you need, the body changes extra calories to fat.
Too much fat can lead to being overweight and other health problems. Only your doctor can say if you are overweight, so check with him or her if you're concerned. And never go on a diet without talking to your doctor!. High-calorie foods — such as sugary sodas, candy, and fast food — quickly add up to too many calories.
Instead, eat a healthy, balanced diet. Exercising and playing are really important, too, because physical activity burns calories. Your body needs calories just to operate — to keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing. As a kid, your body also needs calories and nutrients from a variety of foods to grow and develop.
And you burn off some calories without even thinking about it — by walking your dog or making your bed. Seasonings are high in salt too — use low or reduced-salt stocks, stock powder and gravy powder and dilute them more than the instructions recommend.
As consumers, we put a lot of trust in businesses who make our food. But when it comes salt, can you trust your tastebuds? Take control and get into the habit of reading labels. Most of these foods are high in salt and best avoided. Cut back on things like — deli meats, flavoured instant pasta, instant noodles, savoury snack foods and crackers, instant cup-a-soups, dehydrated soup mixes and 'heat and eat' frozen or refrigerated meals. Don't be fooled by trendy claims — all salt is the same. Whether it's pink, rock or vegetable, it's still salt, and has the same effect on our health.
Any salt contains sodium, and is just the same as ordinary table salt. We need sodium to regulate fluids in our body — most of us can get it naturally in our diet without it being added. We only need a small amount each day but many of us are eating way more. Adults should eat less than 2, mg or 5 g of sodium — about a teaspoon of salt a day. Children need less than one quarter of a teaspoon of salt per day. The adequate intake of sodium for children starts at around 0. Hint: got high blood pressure — reduce your salt intake to 2, mg 5 g per day.
Most simmer sauces, gravies and condiments are stacked with salt to enhance their flavour. A squirt of sauce, a drizzle of dressing on a salad can really start to add up. Popular products that contain loads of salt include soy sauce, tomato sauce, relish, mustard, stir-fry sauces, marinades, stock, gravy, mayonnaise and salad dressings. Anything pickled such as olives, gherkins and capers is high in salt too. Hint: try to make your own with fresh ingredients when you can.
Start with our homemade tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes — make up a batch and freeze. Download a free app like FoodSwitch , which scans barcodes and gives the nutritional value of loads of foods. If you have kids, get them to help with the shopping. Salt has a craving effect on our bodies — the more we eat, the more we want. And, for some of us, it makes us eat more too. Try to cut down slowly, so you're less likely to crave 'bad things', such as junk and fast foods!
So stick with it. When shopping, read the nutritional information and make sure to look for low sodium products. Your best bet is to choose cereals that are less likely to contain added salt such as oats or unsweetened muesli. A popular lunch staple is the humble sandwich or roll filled with deli meats. Limit your intake of deli meats that are high in salt such as salami, ham, corned beef, and chicken loaf.
Go easy on those Sunday brunches too — smoked salmon, sausages, bacon and prosciutto are high in salt — just one rasher of bacon alone is a third of our maximum daily intake! Be on the lookout for brands that are lower in sodium. Hint: vary fillings in lunches — such as tuna in spring water it's less salty than brine , hard-boiled eggs, or patties and dips made with legumes e. Contrary to what we might believe, if your muscles are cramping they need water not salt. Cramps are a sign that our body is dehydrated and needs replenishing.
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