This is the early stage of life. The period of infancy covers from birth to one year (0-1 year).  At this stage food is very important because this is the stage at which growth rate is highest. Infants are more susceptible to infection and therefore they need food to develop effective antibodies.

Within the age of 4 – 6 months of life, breast milk is the best for the infants. However, milk and milk formulae are adequate sources of nourishment. Exclusive breast feeding is encouraged for babies for the first six months after which it will be gradually be replaced by cow milk. Breast milk and infant formulae lacks iron and vitamin D while artificial milk is deficient in vitamin C.  when the baby reaches six months their mother’s milk need supplementing with more protein, iron, vitamin C and calories. At four to six months, an infant can be introduced to semi-solid food e.g. maize or millet porridge from cereals which supply the energy needs.

Weaning is the gradual replacement of breast milk or infant formulae by a good mixed diet. Baby may be weaned at six to nine months. Weaning should be gradual, planned so that good quantity proteins, minerals and vitamins can augment those of breast milk.


  • Carbohydrate: – carbohydrate is the major contributor to energy intake in infant. The

source of carbohydrate to breastfeed and most bottle feed infant is lactose. The energy content of the infant must be adequate because if the energy is not enough for the body requirement, part of the protein will be used in producing energy and growth will therefore be retarded.


  • Protein: – infants require a generous amount of protein for proper growth and development. The ideal source of protein for the new born is human milk. The recommended dietary allowance of protein for the infant is 2-5 g per kg of body weight.


  • Minerals: – they need calcium and phosphorus for growing bones and teeth. Infants need calcium for strong bones and teeth. This can be obtained from breast milk or infant formulae. Infants need iron for the production of red blood cells and prevention of anaemia. Iron rich foods like liver, egg yolk etc can be introduced after six months.


  •  Vitamin supplement should be added to the infant food. Orange juice is a good source of vitamin C for bottle fed babies. This is because infant formulae lacks vitamin C.  Vitamin D can be given, such as cod=-liver oil. Also to synthesis vitamin D, about 15 minutes per day of sun exposure with only the face expose is needed for light skin babies, a longer time is required for darker skin babies.



  • Carbohydrates: – toddler needs energy food because they are often active. Cereal grains are excellent source of energy.
  • Protein: – the ideal source of protein for the toddler is milk. A toddler needs 40 grams of protein daily because of rapid growth of muscles and other tissues.
  • Vitamins and minerals: – the toddlers need plenty of fat soluble vitamins in supplement form or in form of fruit juice and cod liver oil to prevent rickets and minerals such as calcium and phosphorus for proper growing of bones and teeth.
  • Snacks: – these are foods eaten in- between meals. They are finger foods. Toddlers eat a lot of sugary foods like soft drinks, sweet biscuits, sweet cakes, ice cream.


At this stage of growth, many deficiencies caused by poor diet may occur such as poor dental health, aneamia, constipation, poor skeletal development, loss of weight obesity, bad skin and poor eye sight.


  • The caloric need of school children may need to be adjusted according to weight. Underweight children need more calorie than over weight.
  • They need good quality protein for growth and development of muscle.
  • Calcium storage is important.
  • They need large amount of vitamin C.




  • Their meals must be adequate diet.
  • Meals that require chewing should be included. Chewing helps in the formation of strong firm teeth
  • Children’s meal should be spiced sparingly.
  • Children should be served attractive meals in small, frequent feedings
  • Children should maintain regular feeding time
  • Maintain proper cleanliness in the preparation and serving of children’s meals.
  • Serve their meal in a conducive atmosphere and ensure they relax while eating.


       The adolescent age is the period the individual is involved in a lot of activities. This is the period of 11-20 years. Total nutrient needs are at this time greater than during any other time of life. Both energy and protein need increase reaching the peak at around early adulthood.  This is due to rapid growth and increased activity that take place during this period.

Their food should be rich in energy giving nutrient as well as the vitamins that aids in liberation of energy especially those required for good teeth and bone formation. Energy requirement for boys begin to exceed those of girls as they develop more muscle and greater size and engage in energy demanding activities.  Protein requirement for both group reach the adult recommendation of 0.8 g per kg of body weight. For girls iron, vitamin B12 and ascorbic acid should be increased at this stage because of the onset of menstruation. Calcium is another critical nutrient for adolescent. It helps in growth of the skeleton and the teeth. Emotional stress and strain may interfere with the retention of body calcium. Examples of food to be consumed at this stage are cereals and tubers, legumes, meat, fish vegetable etc.


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