How Many Calories Should A Child Eat For Lunch


How many calories should a child eat for lunch? A question parents must have asked themselves at some point. It’s important to get the right nutrients, proteins and carbs in our children’s diets. It’s of extra importance to remember that if you’re looking over your children’s lunch boxes that they’re getting the right amount of calories for their body weight or height.

How Many Calories Should A Child Eat For Lunch

It’s important to know the number of
calories you need to eat to stay healthy.
Do you know how many calories you
and your family need each day?
How many calories you need each day—ENERGY IN—
depends on a few things:
• Your age
• Whether you are male or female
• How active you are
The tables on the next pages show the calories needed
each day for boys and men, and for girls and women.
They are split by age and three levels of activity.
Not Active—Not much ENERGY OUT. Does only light
activity needed for daily life. For instance, cooking or
walking to the mailbox.
Somewhat Active—Some ENERGY OUT. Does
physical activity equal to walking quickly for 1 ½ to 3
miles (about 30–40 minutes) each day. Plus, does light
activity needed for daily life.
Very Active—A lot of ENERGY OUT. Does physical
activity equal to walking quickly for more than 3 miles
each day (more than 40 minutes). Plus, does light
activity needed for daily life.
active veryactive
These tables give you an idea of how much ENERGY IN your family members need.
The amount of calories needed differs by age based on the level of regular physical activity. That’s why the tables
give a range of calories for some age groups.
• For children, more calories are needed at older ages.
• For adults, fewer calories are needed at older ages.
Calories Needed Each Day for Boys and Men
Age Not Active Somewhat Active Very Active
2–3 years 1,000–1,200 calories 1,000–1,400 calories 1,000–1,400 calories
4–8 years 1,200–1,400 calories 1,400–1,600 calories 1,600–2,000 calories
9–13 years 1,600–2,000 calories 1,800–2,200 calories 2,000–2,600 calories
14–18 years 2,000–2,400 calories 2,400–2,800 calories 2,800–3,200 calories
19–30 years 2,400–2,600 calories 2,600–2,800 calories 3,000 calories
31–50 years 2,200–2,400 calories 2,400–2,600 calories 2,800–3,000 calories
51 years and older 2,000–2,200 calories 2,200–2,400 calories 2,400–2,800 calories
Calories Needed Each Day for Girls and Women
Age Not Active Somewhat Active Very Active
2–3 years 1,000 calories 1,000–1,200 calories 1,000–1,400 calories
4–8 years 1,200–1,400 calories 1,400–1,600 calories 1,400–1,800 calories
9–13 years 1,400–1,600 calories 1,600–2,000 calories 1,800–2,200 calories
14–18 years 1,800 calories 2,000 calories 2,400 calories
19–30 years 1,800–2,000 calories 2,000–2,200 calories 2,400 calories
31–50 years 1,800 calories 2,000 calories 2,200 calories
51 years and older 1,600 calories 1,800 calories 2,000–2,200 calories

How many calories are in a school lunch UK?

Similarly one may ask, how many calories are in a school lunch?

school lunch will provide them with 550-650 calories, which is about 1/3 of the calories they need in a day.

Subsequently, question is, what is nutrition standards for school lunches? School Food Standards Nutrient-based standards include recommendations for energy, protein, carbohydrate, non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES), fat, saturated fat, fibre (NSP), sodium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron and zinc.

Also question is, are school lunches healthy UK?

School meals – healthy eating standards. Food served in some schools and academies in England must meet the school food standards so that children have healthy, balanced diets. The school food standards apply to all maintained schools, and academies that were founded before 2010 and after June 2014.

Is school lunch healthy or unhealthy?

Processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt have become a mainstay of lunches in schools across America and the results are in — experts say these unhealthy school lunches are a contributing factor to the childhood obesity epidemic. And those problems can lead to children who don’t perform as well in schools

How many calories should I eat?

The average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight, and 1,500 calories per day to lose one pound of weight per week. Meanwhile, the average man needs 2,500 calories to maintain, and 2,000 to lose one pound of weight per week. However, this depends on numerous factors.

How many calories should a high school lunch have?

High school cafeterias must serve twice as many fruits and vegetables as before, limit proteins and carbohydrates, and serve lunches containing 750 to 850 calories.

How many calories do I burn a day?

To lose one pound a week, you need to have a good idea of how many calories you burn (use for energy) on an average day. Men burn 1,900 to 2,500 calories per day, depending on their level of activity, Greaves says. Women burn 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day.

How many calories are in a school calzone?

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 calzone (142g)
Calories 340
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%

How many calories should a kid eat for lunch?

Daily Calorie Needs 1,200-1,800

Make a lunch date. Some schools allow parents to drop by and have lunch with their child once in while, or at least volunteer in the lunchroom.

How many calories are in a pound?

Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, it’s estimated that you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. So, in general, if you cut about 500 to 1,000 calories a day from your typical diet, you’d lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week.

How many calories are in school cookies?

Nutrition Facts
Calories 130 (543 kJ)
Cholesterol 5 mg 2%
Sodium 55 mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 17 g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g 2%

How many calories are in school milk?

In fact, the majority of milk in schools today is already low-fat or fat-free, and 95 percent of flavored milk in schools is projected to be at or below 150 calories for the 2011-12 school year. On average, the flavored milk offered in schools today contains just 39 calories more than white milk.
Use this age-by-age guide to find out the amount of food your child should be eating—and how to create healthy habits for a lifetime.
helicopter flying in food to 3 plates iwth kids of various ages at each

From Day 1, we worry about our kids getting enough to eat—yet with the childhood obesity rate at 18.5 percent, we also fret that they’ll get too much. What’s the right amount? To cut through the confusion, nutrition experts helped compile this guide of just how much kids need at each age, plus tips on how to stay on track. Follow their advice—and your child’s weight will be one concern you can cross off your list.

AGES 1-3 Feeling Finicky

Daily Calorie Needs 1,000 – 1,400

Remember that baby of yours who happily ate chicken, squash, and most anything else that landed on his high chair tray? He’s been replaced—by someone a lot less agreeable at mealtime. After your baby’s first year, growth slows down and so may appetite. Infants need to eat about 35 to 50 calories per pound, while toddlers require roughly 35 to 40 calories per pound, according to guidelines from the Institute of Medicine. How do you know if you’re hitting that target?

illustration of food items for ages 1-3
  • Trust toddler instincts. It’s natural for a 2-year-old’s appetite to be erratic from day to day. Yet according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, up to 85 percent of parents say they push their kids to eat more, giving them rewards and praise for having a couple more bites. Believe your child when she pushes her plate away or tells you she’s full. Otherwise, she’ll eventually start to eat when she’s not hungry—and that’s a slippery slope. A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania found that many overweight and obese 5- to 12-year-olds have lost touch with their own hunger cues. “Keeping a child aware of her hunger and fullness may go a long way to help prevent obesity,” says study author Tanja Kral, Ph.D. Kids are just too busy to eat—after a few bites, they’re hopping down from the table to play. It’s okay to have healthy munchies (such as bite-size veggies, fruit, cheese, and whole-grain crackers) within arm’s reach during playtime, but serve most meals and snacks at the table so eating there becomes a habit, says Dina Rose, Ph.D., a sociologist in Hoboken, New Jersey, who specializes in children’s eating habits.
  • Stick to a schedule. Serve meals and snacks about three hours apart. “This helps keep your child at a healthy weight by ‘normalizing’ hunger,” says Jill Castle, R.D., author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters From High Chair to High School. A child who’s always nibbling will never feel hungry. Plus, if your child skimps at one meal, you’ll both know there’s another opportunity to eat in a few hours.
  • Avoid food bribes. Yes, you’ll get the short-term gain of a few bites of peas or chicken, but you’re telling your child to eat more than she wants—which can set her up for a pattern of overeating. You’re also sending the wrong message about food. “If kids think that vegetables are just the yucky stuff you have to eat to get to the good stuff, they’ll never learn to really like them,” says Rose.

AGES 1-3 Sample Menu

Toddlers should have a maximum of two cups of whole milk a day; switch to water if your child is still thirsty. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that low fat or reduced-fat milk not be started before 2 years of age unless suggested by a doctor. Have water or 100 percent juice at snack time. Don’t exceed 4 ounces of juice daily.


Oatmeal (1/2 cup mixed with 1 tsp. brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon)

1/2 banana sliced


Bean-and-cheese quesadilla (1 6″ whole-wheat tortilla with 1 tbsp. fat-free refried beans and sprinkled with 2 tbsp. shredded cheese)

1/4 cup chunky salsa for dipping


1 oz. grilled chicken

1/2 cup roasted sweet potatoes

1/2 cup steamed broccoli (toss with 1/4 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. Parmesan cheese)


1/2 cup low-fat flavored yogurt with 1 whole-grain waffle cut into strips 1/2 apple, sliced, with a piece of string cheese

AGES 4-6 Branching Out

Daily Calorie Needs 1,200-1,800

While you were able to keep tabs on what your toddler ate, kids this age might consume about 40 percent or more of their calories away from you, usually having snacks and lunch at school or on after-school playdates. “Keep snack portions on the small side, and boost the amount of food by about one third at the main meals,” suggests Sarah Krieger, R.D. Other tips:

illustration of food items for ages 4-6
  • Make a lunch date. Some schools allow parents to drop by and have lunch with their child once in while, or at least volunteer in the lunchroom. “Most kids this age are slow eaters, and end up throwing out a lot of their lunch,” says Liz Weiss, R.D., coauthor of No Whine With Dinner. “So don’t count on your child getting all the calories in her lunch box. Adjust her lunch size accordingly, and plan for a bigger breakfast or dinner.”
  • Watch out for emotional eating. If your child is constantly asking for snacks, he may be eating out of boredom or even anxiety. Use a “hunger scale” with your kids: 0 is totally empty, 10 is totally full, and 5 is neither hungry nor full. “If he’s above a 5 and asking for food, he’s probably eating for emotional reasons,” says Susan M. Kosharek, R.D., author of If Your Child Is Overweight: A Guide for Parents. He’s old enough to understand emotions, so help give words to his feelings by asking, “Are you angry? Are you worried?” Then help him problem-solve or distract him from the situation without using food.
  • Serve family style. Allow your child to serve herself—without any prompting or pressuring from you—and she’ll likely take a portion that’s just the right size. “Some parents unknowingly over-feed by giving adult-size portions, and kids get used to eating those larger amounts,” says Castle.

AGES 4-6 Sample Menu

Serve meals with 3/4 cup of milk—the AAP recommends fat-free or low-fat milk for kids over age 2; switch to water if your child is still thirsty. Have water or 100 percent juice at snacktime. Don’t exceed 6 ounces of juice daily.


1 small whole-wheat bagel spread with 1 tbsp. nut or seed butter

1/2 cup fruit salad


1/2 turkey-and-cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread

Yellow pepper strips with 2 tbsp. low-fat ranch dressing

1/2 cup sliced strawberries


2 oz. fish (such as cod or tilapia)

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

4 asparagus spears roasted in olive oil


1/4 cup hummus and 10 baby carrots

1 small box raisins

AGES 7-9 Playing Hard

Daily Calorie Needs 1,200-2,000

Your child’s growth slows down more during this time—kids gain about four to seven pounds each year until puberty—but calorie needs rise because many kids are more active. “Sports and after-school activities like dance and karate are increasingly intense at this age,” says Weiss. “So kids end up burning more calories.” These pre-tweens often get to make a lot of their own food choices too—from deciding what to have in the cafeteria to how much to eat when at a friend’s house. Make sure they fuel up right:

illustration of food items for ages 7-9
  • Keep an eye on weight. There’s a surge in the percent of overweight and obese kids in the years leading up to puberty. “It’s normal for kids this age to become heavier in preparation for an impending growth spurt, but if treats get out of control, your child can gain too much weight,” says Castle. She suggests limiting treats to one a day, and teaching your child to opt for water instead of soft drinks and other beverages with added sugar.
  • Plan for sports. Give your child a healthy meal or snack containing carbohydrates (such as whole-grain cereal or bread) and protein (such as lean meat, yogurt, or milk) before games. She doesn’t need anything except water to drink during and after exercise. Offer sports drinks only if she’s playing hard on a hot day for more than an hour, with back-to-back soccer games, for example.
  • Serve (some) favorites but don’t be a short-order cook. Be sure there are always foods on the table that your child likes—such as fruit, whole-grain bread, or a favorite grain side dish—so she can still be nourished even if she doesn’t love the entrée.

AGES 7-9 Sample Menu

Serve meals with 3/4 cup of 2% milk; switch to water if your child is still thirsty. Have water or 100 percent juice at snack time. Don’t exceed 8 ounces or 1 cup of juice daily.


1 whole-wheat pita filled with 1 scrambled egg

Sliced orange


Pasta salad (1 cup whole-wheat pasta mixed with 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes and 1 oz. cheese cubed and drizzled with 1 tsp. olive oil)

1 apple


2 pieces cheese pizza topped with grilled chicken

1/2 cup broccoli with 2 tbsp. low-fat dipping sauce

1 small piece of chocolate


1/4 cup each almonds and dried chopped apricots or cherries

1 cup edamame sprinkled with salt

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