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Nutritional Requirements Across a Lifespan — from Pregnancy to Childhood, & Adolescence to Adulthood


Many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from foods are essential for developing a baby and for the mother during pregnancy. Pregnancy requires different stages of increased calorie intake and nutrient intake. During the first trimester, not much needs to change in ways of diet except for more vitamins and minerals. The second trimester requires an increase in calorie intake to 340 calories per day. The third trimester involves an increase of 450 calories per day. Carbohydrates, fibrous foods, and essential fatty acids are some of the most critical foods to ingest.


Infants have most of all they need in breast milk as well as in infant formula. The milk provides the carbohydrates and lipids necessary to provide a food source but, more importantly, protect the infant and builds the baby’s immune system.


In childhood, diet shifts from solely milk to now including solid foods and cows milk. During childhood, children are exploring and experiencing preferences and learning nutrition habits. It is best to stick with natural foods, not processed foods. Children also need food to help build muscles, and bone strength, to grow and mature.


“Needs for vitamins, minerals, the energy-yielding nutrients, and in fact all nutrients are greater during adolescence than at any other time of life except pregnancy and lactation (Sizer & Whitney, 2016)”. Adolescent children are shifting into the growing up phase, changes in height and weight, sexual maturity, all need an abundance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to achieve. An increase in carbohydrates, fats, proteins is necessary to assist in the maturation of the body and provide the teen with the energy needed for sports activities or just an active life.


As we age, our diets shift towards preventative measures and maintenance. Protein intake is vital to maintain muscle mass. Carbohydrates and fibers are essential for brain health and digestive health.


When we learn more about why nutrition is essential to every other aspect of life, I think more people who are still “innocent” or not exposed to the poor food options we have are more likely to stick to the recommendations. I believe this is because once we’ve had the sugar, fats, junk food, we crave it; when you don’t know what your missing, it can be easier not to choose those foods. If we are all grabbing herbs and some produce from our private gardens, we stay connected to the process, respect the food, and find pride in personal work. A suggestion to get started is to start from seeds, and growing kale, a great green vegetable, needs minimal work. However, if you are in a smaller space, use container gardens (Adventist Health, 2020). I think that the idea of a gatekeeper, someone or yourself keeping guard of the types of foods that enter your home, is a great way to see the success in nutritional goals and see that change is attainable.

Not shifting a diet to include what is needed at every stage of life limits a person’s body, brain, and energy. Every stage has needs, and not providing these needs causes many diseases, sometimes death, abnormalities, and mental stresses like depression.

Stay MOTOvated!! Live MOTOvated!!


Sizer, F., & Whitney, E. (2016). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies — Standalone book (14th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Adventist Health. (2020, May 11). Healthy eating from your own garden: Easy veggies to plant and grow

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