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26 September 2023

Meal Planning for the School Child|ICDS Supervisor Kerala Study Materials

 Meal Planning for the School Child|ICDS Supervisor Kerala Study Materials

Meal Planning for the School Child

Meal Planning for the School Child


The term “School Child’ refers to children from the age of 7 years to 12 years.

During the school years the rate of growth further slows down. 

This, however, does not mean that no significant growth occurs. In fact, growth continues at a

steady pace. 

Further, the school years are characterized by an improvement of the functioning of most tissues and organ systems. 

It is important to emphasize that considerable growth and development of both muscles and bones takes place.

The school years precede adolescence and are, in fact, spent in preparation for it. Adolescent is a period of very rapid growth. 

It is important, therefore, that a good foundation is laid during the school years. One way in

which we can do this is to provide good food. 

A satisfactory diet is, crucial in fostering the optimum growth and development of the child.


The table summarizes the recommended dietary intakes for school children. 

Recommended Dietary Intakes for School Children

There is an increase in the RDIs for energy, protein, calcium, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and niacin as age increases.

 The RDIs for vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin A remain unchanged from the age of 7 to the age of 12.

The influence of gender becomes evident after the age of 10 years. This is the reason why RDIs are specified separately for boys and girls in the 10-12 years category.


Which Nutrients are of Particular Importance?

Nutrients of particular importance in the school years are:

 Energy-giving nutrients (carbohydrates and fats)

 Protein

 Iron and

 Calcium

Which Foods to Select?

When we plan diets we have to decide on which foods to select and how much to give of these foods. 

The points to keep in mind are:

 Include items from each of the three food groups (energy-giving, body-building and protective/ regulatory) in each meal.

 Include an animal protein source in each meal if possible and if income permits; use cereal-pulse combinations to improve protein quality.

 Include foods rich in calcium and iron; you are already familiar with the food sources of these nutrients.

What are the other Specific Considerations?

The school child, unlike the preschooler, spends a great deal of time away from home. He is exposed to various influences as a result of which he picks up new food habits.

He tends to miss breakfast and munches snacks in between meals. 

He seldom bothers about packed lunches. 

The following section gives you ideas on how to overcome these difficulties and ensure satisfactory diets. 

Let us start with points about the main meals.

(1) Main Meals

 Breakfast should be substantial and should be planned around a cereal-based preparation. 

Milk/ egg/pulse and a fruit should be included. Choice of items would be dependent on the money available.

 Dinners and lunches must be balanced meals based on items rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.

They are the most substantial meals in the day.

With the kind of meal pattern we adopt, we would give a packed lunch for the child to eat at school.

In addition, a “late lunch” could be given at home when the child returns from school. In such a case the late lunch would be lighter. 

Generally dinner can be a more elaborate meal because the child can eat at leisure, but this does not mean it should be a heavy meal. 

Here, of course, the terms, “heavy” and “light” refer to contribution to total energy

provided by the day’s diet. 

One must remember that the heavier meals such as lunch and dinner should also contribute more protein, vitamins and minerals as compared to meals such as tea-time or even


In addition to these we must also be aware of the possibility of the child receiving a mid-day meal or snack as part of a nutrition programme in schools.

Some schools offer a complete meal whereas others offer a ready-to-eat snack. 

There is considerable variation from one State to another. 

According to the recommendations, mid-day meals should provide at least one-third of the daily energy RDI and about half of the daily protein need.

 Packed lunches should be easy to carry and handle, require minimum preparation time and should be balanced.

 The lunch must include sources of protein, vitamins and minerals in addition to energy. 

Dry preparations such as a drypulse or cottage cheese (pan eer) and veg etable o r m eat-veg etable preparations can be offered. 

Items like sandwiches and pizzas are common in the high income group.

Lower and middle income groups usually serve items like paranthas/rotis/rice and dal or vegetable; idlis and sambar; curd rice/tamarind rice and similar preparations.

If they are not balanced, any of the following suggestions might help depending on which food

group is missing or inadequate.

The body-building group:

(a) Add a pulse in suitable form

(b) Add cottage cheese (paneer) or milk-based dessert

(c) Add meat in suitable form

(d) Include egg in suitable form

The protective-regulatory group:

(a) Add a fruit or fruit-based preparation

(b) Add a vegetable preparation

(2) Snacks

 Snacks selected should be balanced rather than just calorie-rich and should supply substantial amounts of nutrients particularly energy, protein, calcium and iron. 

Snacks can be offered mid-morning and at tea-time. 

The packed lunch can also take the form of a snack. School children, in fact, are very fond of

eating snacks in between meals and during meal imes.

(3) Serving Size and Meal Frequency

 Serving size (the amount served at a time) should be planned keeping the child’s capacity to eat in mind;

this is where increasing meal frequency helps.

(4) Food Preferences

 Variety must be included by selecting different type of foods and introducing variety in colour, flavour, texture, form and shape. 

The child enjoys foods prepared using different cooking methods and food combination.

Sufficient attention must be given to the child’s likes and dislikes. 

Items disliked should be included in a form readily accepted by the child e.g., if a

child does not like a particular vegetable it could be boiled and mashed and mixed with other foods to make cutlets which the child might like. 

Similarly, if a child does not like milk it could be offered as curd, custard or paneer (cottage cheese) preparations.

Read Also: 

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Topic wise Notes for ICDS Supervisor Exam


1.      Home Science

2.      Food and Nutrition

3.      Psychology

4.       Physiology

5.       Microbiology

6.       Sociology 

7.      Nutrition and Health 


MCQ Questions & Answers for ICDS Supervisor


1.      ICDS Supervisor NOTES

2.      Previous Questions MCQ|ICDS Supervisor Exam|ICDS Supervisor Kerala PSC (1-20)

3.      Previous Questions MCQ|ICDS Supervisor Exam|ICDS Supervisor Kerala PSC (21-30)

4.      ICDS Supervisor MCQ-1

5.      ICDS Supervisor MCQ set 1

6.      ICDS Supervisor MCQ set 2

7.      ICDS Supervisor MCQ set 3

8.      ICDS Supervisor MCQ set 4

9.      Nutrition & Health MCQ 1

10.  Nutrition & Health MCQ 2

11.  Nutrition & Health MCQ 3

12.  Nutrition & Health MCQ 4

13.  ICDS Supervisor Previous Questions Set 1

14.  ICDS Supervisor Previous Questions Set 2

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19.  ICDS Supervisor Previous Questions Set 7

20.  ICDS Supervisor Previous Questions Set 8

21.  ICDS Supervisor Previous Questions Set 1

22.  Elementary Care & Education MCQ

23.  Solved Previous Question Paper ICDS Supervisor

24.  Women & Child ICDS Supervisor Exam

25.  Extension Education Notes for ICDS Supervisor

26.  Complete NOTES Child Psychology



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Nutrition MCQ 1

Nutrition MCQ 2


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