Identify Different Dietary Needs at Each Life Stage

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Date Submitted: 11/18/2012 02:30 PM

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An infant's requirement for calories is determined by size, rate of growth, activity, and energy needed for metabolic activities. Calorie needs per pound of body weight are higher during the first year of life than at any other time.

The calories in an infant's diet are provided by protein, fat , and carbohydrates . Protein is a basic part of every cell. Of the protein requirement, 50 percent is used for growth in the first two months of life, a figure that declines to 11 percent by two to three years of age. Fat provides 40 to 50 percent of the calories supplied during infancy and is a source of essential fatty acids . Carbohydrates, primarily lactose, are the principal source of dietary energy. Water requirements for the first six months are met when adequate amounts of breast milk or infant formula are consumed.


Babies are born with their own source of iron, but this will be depleted after six months. Iron is absorbed best if it is from meat, however the vegetarian baby can increase iron absorption by eating foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries, spinach, tomatoes) with meals.


Breast milk or formula provides all your baby's calcium needs initially. Calcium helps teeth and bones and promotes overall strength. Good sources later include: cow's milk, fortified soy milk and orange juice, cheeses, molasses, dark green vegetables, beans, lentils and tofu


Babies require more protein than adults because of their rapid growth. A one year old child needs about 15 grams or two cups of protein per day.

These recommendations take into consideration both macronutrients [carbohydrate, protein and fat] and micronutrients [vitamins and minerals]. The fact that energy is required for growth goes almost without saying. Vitamins and minerals in themselves do not contribute to energy; they contain no calories/kilojoules, however, they are catalysts in making energy available to the body. Basically only carbohydrates, protein and fats...