How many calories does a child of 7-10 need?

Children aged 7-10 years old need lots of energy and nutrients because they’re still growing. The amount of energy that food and drink contains is measured in both kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcal) and is commonly referred to as calories.

A report from 2011 estimated that the average energy requirements for children aged 7-10 years old a day are:

Age (years) Boys Girls
7 6900kJ /1649kcal 6400kJ /1530kcal
8 7300kJ /1745kcal 6800kJ /1625kcal
9 7700kJ /1840kcal 7200kJ /1721kcal
10 8500kJ /2032kcal 8100kJ /1936kcal

However, these figures are only a guide. Children may need more or less than these estimates depending on a number of factors, including how physically active they are. Read tips for getting active with your kids.

While the amount of energy your child needs is important, they should also eat a healthy balanced diet.

Healthy balanced diet

A healthy balanced diet for children aged 7-10 should include:

  • at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • meals based on starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice (choose wholegrain varieties when possible)
  • some milk and dairy products (choose low-fat options where you can)
  • some foods that are good sources of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and lentils

Make sure that your child doesn’t eat too many sugary or fatty foods, such as sweets, cakes and biscuits. They also shouldn’t have too many sugary fizzy drinks.

These foods and drinks tend to be high in calories but contain few nutrients. Get ideas for healthier school packed lunches and helping your family get 5 A DAY.

Read the answers to more questions about healthy eating.

Further information:

About the Author

NHS Choices ( is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.


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