Macronutrients: The Role They Play in Your Child's Growth & Development

What are Macronutrients?

Why are they important and what role do they play in the development of children? 

The three macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You can find out the macronutrient composition of the food you consume from the nutrition labels. 

Understanding the importance of each macronutrient is essential for creating a sound diet for your growing child and for yourself. Let’s take a look at each of the three macronutrients. 

Protein for Your Child's Growth & Development

Protein is an essential nutrient for maintaining bone health, growth and development, muscle maintenance and repair. Protein intake in early life is positively associated with height and weight at 10 years of age according to the Journal of Nutritional Science.

Children should consume on average 25-35 grams of protein per day. One of the variables that can change protein needs is activity level

Good sources of high quality protein include: milk, yogurt, nuts, eggs, cheese, meat, veggies, beans/legumes. 

Carbohydrates for Your Child's Growth & Development

Carbohydrates have a significant impact on energy levels, blood sugar regulation, and play a role in cognitive development. 

The two main forms of carbohydrates are: 

Simple carbohydrates:

Also known as fast acting carbohydrates or simple sugars, are absorbed quickly in the body. These cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly and are easily broken down.  Sources of simple carbohydrates include fruit, sugar, honey, and milk. 

Complex carbohydrates:

These are also known as starches. Complex carbohydrates digest slower in the body, causing blood sugar levels to rise gradually, thus aiding in sustained energy.

Sources of complex carbohydrates are rice, veggies, potatoes, grains, beans, and pasta. 

Fat for Your Child's Growth & Development

Fat has gotten a bad rap in the past, but it is essential for a healthy diet! Fat plays a significant role in vitamin absorption, joint health, heart health, hormone regulation, and brain development.  

As important as fats are, it is equally important to pay attention to the types of fats in your child's diet. 

Healthy fats vs fats to consume sparingly

Healthy Fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
  • Sources: avocado, fish, nuts, olive oil, beans/legumes

Fats to eat Sparingly: trans and saturated

  • Sources: butter, animal fat, fried foods

***Not every person responds to a diet the same, so keep this in mind.****

The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.