Nutrition for Your 9 to 11 Year OldCredit: shebaduhkitty @ morgueFile


During these 'tween' years your child will develop an appetite that will closely mirror his or her adult eating habits.  If you have sons, you will get a preview of the amount of seemingly constant eating he will go through as a teenager.  It is at this point that the daily food needs between boys and girls begin to diverge.  In fact, by the age of 9, girls and boys have varying calorie needs.

Dietary Guidelines for Your Nine to Eleven Year Old

As your child's appetite increases, so too should the number of portions served to them from this USDA Food Pyramid:


  • Grain Group = 6-11 Servings
  • Vegetable Group = 3-5 Servings
  • Fruit Group = 2-4 Servings
  • Milk Group = 2-3 Servings
  • Meat Group = 2-3 Servings
  • Fats & Sweets = Use Sparingly[1708]

While the amount of fat required in your child's diet has tapered down from the almost 50% recommended at year one, you still need to include some.  At this point, do not give in to the almost constant stream of "what is there to eat".  Limit the amount of chips and sweets in your home and encourage healthy snacking.

According to the Daily Calorie Intake model, your nine to eleven year-old GIRL needs the following daily[1698]:

  • Calories: 1,400 to 2,200, depending on growth and activity level.
  • Protein: 10 to 30 percent of daily calories (35 to 105 grams for 1,400 daily calories).
  • Carbohydrates: 45 to 65 percent of daily calories (158 to 228 grams for 1,400 daily calories).
  • Total fat: 25 to 35 percent of daily calories (39 to 54 grams for 1,400 daily calories).
  • Sodium: 1,500 milligrams a day
  • Fiber: 20 to 31  grams a day, depending on daily calories and activity level.
  • Calcium: 1,300 milligrams a day.
  • Vitamin D: 600 international units a day.  

Your nine to eleven year-old BOY needs the following daily[1698]:

  • Calories: 1,600 to 2,600, depending on growth and activity level.
  • Protein: 10 to 30 percent of daily calories (40 to 120 grams for 1,600 daily calories).
  • Carbohydrates: 45 to 65 percent of daily calories (180 to 260 grams for 1,600 daily calories).
  • Total fat: 25 to 35 percent of daily calories (44 to 62 grams for 1,600 daily calories).
  • Sodium: 1,500 milligrams a day
  • Fiber: 22 to 36  grams a day, depending on daily calories and activity level.
  • Calcium: 1,300 milligrams a day.
  • Vitamin D: 600 international units a day.  

One of the difficulties of using the calorie counting system is that not all nutrition analyzing software accounts for calcium and vitamin D.  Ensure your child is still drinking milk regularly to account for this.  If  your child's diet has started to stray off path due to school lunches, afternoons at friend's houses and simply because they are taking in more than you can control, consider using vitamins to make sure your child is also receiving adequate amounts of iron, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and the vitamin B group.

Whether you are looking to use the Food Pyramid System or the Calorie Counting System, you can find more information on portion sizes and the key foods that contain each nutrient on this article, Children's Nutrition: An Overview.

Below are a couple of quick recipes with their nutritional breakdown according to the calorie counting method.  Nutritional analysis for these recipes was done using BigOven software.  

Shepherd’s PieNutrition: Mashed Potato for Shepherd's PieCredit: maxstraeten @ morgueFile

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 1 pound Minced lamb
  • 1 1/2 pounds Potatoes
  • 1 large Onion 
  • 2 ounces Mushrooms
  • 1 each Bay leaf 
  • 2 large Carrots 
  • 1 ounce Plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato purée
  • 1 ounce Butter
  • 4 tablespoons Milk 
  • 1/2 pint Lamb or beef stock
  • 2 ounces Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Fry the lamb with onion, mushrooms, carrots and bay leaf for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the flour and stir for a minute. Slowly blend in the stock and tomato purée. Continue stirring, until the mixture thickens and boils. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Remove the bay-leaf and place in a 1.7 litre (3 pint) oven-proof serving dish.

As the lamb mixtures simmers, cook the potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter and milk and mix well. Spread on top of the mince mixture and sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Calories: 417
  • Protein: 19 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 30 grams
  • Total fat: 25 grams
  • Sodium: 250
  • Fiber: 4 grams

Chicken Stir-fry with Rice

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 1 pound Chicken breast, skinless, boneless and cubed
  • 2 stalks Celery, diced
  • 1 large Carrot, diced
  • 1 large Onion, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 can Chicken broth (or use homemade stock to cut down on sodium)
  • 2 1/2 cups Water 
  • 1 1/2 cups Rice 
  • 3 tablespoons Soy sauce, low sodium, to taste
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed

Mix 2 cups of the water with the broth and bring to a boil. Add rice, bring back to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer until rice absorbs the liquid (about 30 minutes). In wok or large pan heat 1/2 cup of water, bouillon and garlic over med-high heat. Add prepared vegetables and chicken. Stir fry till vegetables are tender and chicken cooks through, about 15 minutes. Add cooked rice and stir well. Add soy sauce and mix in.

  • Calories: 277
  • Protein: 22 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 43 grams
  • Total fat: 2 grams
  • Sodium:464 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Baked Apple

Ingredient for 1 serving:

  • 1 each Apple 
  • 2 tablespoon Walnuts crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Brown sugar

Peel the top half of the apple, then core it. Fill the hollow centre with crushed walnuts and sprinkle with brown sugar on top. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until tender. Serve warm.

  • Calories: 191
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 24 grams
  • Total fat: 10 grams
  • Sodium: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams

French ToastNutrition: Eggs for Your TweenCredit: alvimann @ morgueFile

Ingredients for 5 servings:

  • 10 slices Whole-wheat bread 
  • 3 large Eggs 
  • 1 cup Milk 
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon 
  • 1 pinch Ground nutmeg

Pre-heat a large griddle pan to medium high heat.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a shallow dish so you can dip the bread in it. Spray the heated griddle with non-stick spray oil. Dip one slice of bread into the egg mixture, coat both sides. Place the bread on the griddle. Fry on both sides until lightly browned.   Serve with butter, fruit or syrup for a special treat.

  • Calories: 382
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 31 grams
  • Total fat: 17 grams
  • Sodium: 623 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Green Beans with Bacon

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 2 pounds Green beans 
  • 2 slices Bacon 
  • 1/4 cup Shallots, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

Boil beans in water for two  minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well, then set aside. Cook bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove, crumble and set aside. Add shallots to bacon fat in skillet and sauté for one minute. Add almonds; sauté 1 minute. Remove and cool. Add sugar and vinegar; stir until sugar dissolves. Add crumbled bacon. Pour vinaigrette over beans, tossing gently to coat.

  • Calories: 303
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 42 grams
  • Total fat: 9 grams
  • Sodium: 570 grams
  • Fiber: 15 grams

For specific guidelines relevant to other ages and an overview of both nutrition models discussed here, have a look at these articles:

And for more information on adapting your favorite recipes for your kids, have a look at:

Information provided in this article has come from different sources, including web resources such as the Mayo Clinic and books focusing on children's recipes and nutrition.  While much of the data has been researched by nutritionists, some of it is contradictory.  The author of this article is not a pediatrician or a nutritionist and recommends that you contact a registered practitioner should you have concerns with your child's health.