Kids' calories

Mens Health Magazine created a list of statistics and found that kids eat (on average) 165 more calories than they should a day.

According to WebMD, an active child aged 2-3 should be eating 1400 calories a day. An active female aged 4-8 should be eating 1400-1800 calories. An active male aged 4-8 should be eating 1600-2000 calories. An active female 9-13 should be eating 1800-2200 calories. And an active male 9-13 should be eating 2000-2600. (Click HERE for more totals, including totals for kids who are less than active)

I think wherever Men’s Health got that number, they might be lowballing it.

The kids and I went to Applebees the other day for dinner, and were happy to see that the calories were printed right on the menu – even the Kids Menu. I’m a calorie counter, and I’m definitely for restaurants keeping honest about the amount of calories they are putting in their food so that patrons can at least have the option of thinking twice about consuming all those calories. You’ll see on the photo that I included a photo of the Kids Menu with the calorie counts. If a 4 year old got the single mini cheeseburger with all the fixings and fries on the side, plus a strawberry milkshake to drink, they would have consumed 1,810 calories.

That’s 1,810 calories just for dinner alone.

Note: Did you notice the calories if you order two cheeseburgers with no sides compared to one cheeseburger with no sides? Doesn’t that number seem a little odd….that it’s not just double what one cheeseburger is? Do they take a bite out of the second cheeseburger or something?

Needless to say, if you’re not paying attention to what you are feeding your child, you should. If your child is active, seems to be a healthy weight, and has enough energy, congratulations! But if you find that your child is lacking energy, or is under or over weight, start keeping track of the foods they are eating by writing everything down. And once you are aware of the changes that need to be made, make them.

And parents, the same goes for your own diet, too.

Behind us was a table of girls. They were all musing about the calories on the menu, and talking about how they were watching their weight. And then one girl ordered a refill on her root beer – about 200 empty calories. And another ordered a giant margarita (I don’t even know the calorie amount, but I’m sure it’s a lot).

Drinks add up. If the beverage is alcoholic, that is just more empty calories. If you’re watching your weight, pay attention to what you are drinking along with what you are eating. And don’t underestimate the goodness of calorie-free, refreshing water.

Is your family kicking off a healthy lifestyle for the new year? What are some of the things you’ve changed in your day-to-day?


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