It is a real wonder how we tend to generalise things. It is a vital skill and one that has benefited human kind since, well, forever. By generalising we are able to condense a huge amount of information into manageable chunks, something that we can get our head around, a little bit easier. And this is beautifully illustrated by what our eyes take in and what we perceive. It has been estimated that each frame that the eye sees is equivalent to 1.6 gb of information. For those who watch movies online, a movie lasting around 90min with good quality audio and visual is around 1gb. That is less than the eye captures in one frame, in less than a second, a lot let than a second. So our brains had to find a way to condense, organise, ignore and try to make sense of all the information we receive. The same applies in pretty much all aspects of life. And so do we generalise about the diets of our children, pretending that they can eat what the adults are eating, maybe just change the portion sizes.
However, this approach is erroneous, and our children are worth the effort of finding out how to get it right. For example, a fully grown male that is involved in very intense weight lifting and is trying to add as much muscle as he can to his body, is only able to process approximately 2g of protein per kilogram of body mass. In simple terms, an 80kg bodybuilder can effectively use, at most, 160g of protein in a day. The average male adult who is not involved in any muscle building activities is recommended to take about 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. If we consider the token 75kg average male, that would equate to 60g of protein a day. A male child aged around 13-15 years will require about 45-60g of protein per day, or around 0.7-1g per kilogram of body mass. This though is not true for children who are going through a growth spurt. They require up to 2g of protein per kilogram of body mass, equivalent to what the fully grown male bodybuilder requires. Can we afford to not provide our child with the necessary amount of protein? That effectively would mean that we are not aiding our child to fulfill his potential, and no parent would want that.