The principles that govern children’s nutrition are similar to those that govern the nutrition of adults. We all need the same nutrients—vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrates. The difference is in the amounts, as the requirements for nutrient intake change throughout childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. Moreover, the eating habits that people develop as children will influence them for the rest of their lives. The main problem for them is skipping breakfast or eating junk food, for example at the school buffet. This affects not only their mental performance, but it can contribute to the development of a number of diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. In this article, we will provide a thorough overview of why Mana is a solution suitable for children ages 3 and up, what role Mana’s nutrients play in their bodies, and detailed portioning instructions by age, gender, and level of physical activity.
Despite all the information available today, many parents are still unsure of what or how much to feed their children. Most importantly, we should remember that children and adolescents should be encouraged to eat a varied diet and regularly (at least 5 times per day). Every child, however, has a different genetic predisposition, daily routine, level of physical activity, and eating habits.
School-age children in particular have a problem skipping meals; especially breakfast, but also lunch, which leads to poor concentration, energy deficiency, fatigue, overeating in the evening, impaired metabolism, weight gain, obesity, and—in the long-term—insulin deficiency and type 2 diabetes.
Mana is suitable for children ages 3 and older
For both children and adults, balance is the key to a healthy diet. This means consumption of the proper amounts of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). In order for children’s bodies to function normally, they need energy, which is supplied primarily by carbohydrates, and secondarily from fat and protein. Calcium and vitamin D are important for optimal bone growth in children, while B-group vitamins are especially important for energy metabolism in adolescents. Vitamins A, C, E, K1, K2, and other nutrients and phytonutrients are also important.
Thanks to thorough lab testing, high-quality ingredients, and state-of-the-art processing technology, we have developed a product that is so nutritionally complex it can benefit children as young as 3 years old. Mana gives them absolutely everything their bodies need, without any unnecessary filler or “fluff.” Keep reading for a detailed picture of the composition of Mana and what role it can play in children’s nutrition.
Like so many other nutrients, protein is important for the optimal development of children. It is primarily necessary for the formation and renewal of body tissue. It is also necessary for the transport of substances throughout the body and the synthesis of compounds with specific functions, and it is used as a source of energy.
Protein deficiency can not only cause problems in growth and development, but it can reduce immunity and slow regeneration of the body after sports activity. The amount of protein that any given child needs per day depends on their age, gender, and level of physical activity. On average, they need about 1-1.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
ManaPowder delivers 21 grams of protein per serving while ManaDrink delivers 17 g per serving. This means that 2-3 ManaDrinks per day can cover the protein needs of nearly every child, regardless of gender or level of physical activity. There are 6 sources of protein in Mana: isolated soy and pea protein, oat protein, hemp protein, rice protein, and algae protein. Although this mixture is purely plant-based, it is comprehensive and contains all 9 essential amino acids. To read our article about plant protein vs. animal protein in the human diet, go here.
Carbohydrates: the corner piece of the puzzle
As aforementioned, children’s bodies need energy in order to function normally. The majority of this energy should come from carbohydrates. Carbs should account for 50-55% of their daily energy intake and are thus indispensable to healthy growth. Nevertheless, overconsumption of carbs—especially simple carbs—can harm children just like it can adults, and lead to the development of obesity or diabetes.
Important in this respect is the glycemic index of food (GI), which indicates how the carbs in a food behave in the human body after they are consumed, i.e. how quickly they break down into glucose and supply energy. The simpler the sugars in a food, the higher its GI and the greater the fluctuations in blood glucose levels after its consumption. The more complex the sugars, the lower the GI and the more gradually the energy from the food is released in our bodies.
Mana has a low GI (29), which means that it not only helps regulate blood sugar, but cholesterol (including LDL, the “bad” kind). It also reduces the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and increases concentration. For comparison, consider that pure white bread has a GI of 100, and is therefore a much greater burden on the body.
The importance of fat and omega-3 fatty acids
In addition to balanced amounts of protein and carbs, Mana contains a blend of healthy fats that help regulate cholesterol and supply energy to the body, and provide the building blocks of children’s nervous systems. Fat is not only a key supplier of energy, it creates cell membranes that function as carriers of some vitamins (A, D, E, K) and antioxidants.
The 6 plant oils in Mana are a source of valuable phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins such as phytosterols, carotenoids, and vitamin E. One of these oils—algae oil—is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which play a key role in the development of children. They support proper heart and brain function, healthy sleep patterns, and immunity. A 2015 study published in the scientific journal Neuropsychopharmacology showed that consumption of 1300 mg of omega-3s daily increased the focus of patients with and without ADHD.
An American study from 2019 even showed that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids helps reduce the symptoms of pollution-induced asthma. One serving of ManaPowder contains 1300 mg and ManaDrink contains 1110 mg.
Fibre: a secret weapon against child obesity
Although fibre itself is indigestible, it plays a very important role in our digestive system. Fibre comes in two types—soluble and insoluble, both of which are important. In the digestive tract, soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a mucous layer that slows down the absorption of fat and cholesterol. Because fibre absorbs water and swells, it generates a longer feeling of satiety. It also functions as an intestinal prebiotic, and thus as food for beneficial intestinal bacteria.
Insoluble fibre cleanses the intestines and speeds up the passage of food through the digestive tract. It reduces absorption of sugars, and therefore also the GI of the food in which it is contained. All of these functions help reduce the risk of obesity in children. This conclusion is supported by two American studies conducted in 2017, which suggest that prebiotics reduce body weight and subjective appetite.
The susceptibility of children to obesity is a huge topic in itself. According to estimates from the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI), around 19.3% European children aged six years were overweight/obese in 2010.
According to research published in 2010 in The New England Journal Of Medicine, obese children have higher chances of suffering from heart disease, liver disease, stroke, and cancer when they are adults. The best solution is to prevent the development of children’s taste for sweet and salty “junk” foods.
Yet an uncompromising ban on anything sweet and salty is not the right path to take. There are foods that will satisfy kids’ cravings, yet which are still healthy. ManaDrink Choco is one of them. It has a long shelf life and does not require any refrigeration. It can easily be thrown in a school bag and it’s ready to drink when hunger strikes.
Vitamin and mineral requirements for children have changed over the years
Calcium, for example, which plays a role in bone construction, is very important for adolescents. Bone growth in both adolescent boys and girls increases their need for calcium to up to 1200 mg per day. Absorption of calcium is also related to intake of vitamin D.
When girls reach adolescence, they need more iron and folic acid. The higher energy needs of both boys and girls during puberty also entail increased requirements for B vitamins, which are essential for proper energy metabolism. Children often suffer from a lack of vitamins C and A.
Vitamins are essential micronutrients, which means that our bodies cannot create them themselves, and that they must be supplied by external sources, i.e. food, nutritional supplements, and—in case of vitamin D—the sun. Mana contains a complete spectrum of all 14 essential vitamins, including B12, which is often lacking in animal-free diets.
Minerals are of course also essential for proper functioning of the human body. They play a role in the construction of tissues and are important for proper muscle and brain function. Our latest drink and powder recipe, Mark 6, contains all 17 essential minerals, including new, chelated forms of magnesium, potassium, and zinc, which are more soluble.
Portioning Mana for children by age and gender
Although Mana is a complete and nutritionally balanced food, it should not be a full substitute for a varied diet for children or adolescents. Yet it can serve as a full breakfast or snack instead of buffet food or sweets with added sugar.
We understand that, even after a close examination of our product labels, it can be difficult to estimate how to properly portion Mana for children. Their total daily calorie intake should support growth and development, as well as healthy body weight. But the average energy intake of children ranges from 1100 kcal in younger children to 2800 kcal in older adolescents. So, how to know what portions are optimal? It is not always clear.
For this reason, we have prepared exact instructions on how to portion Mana for children and adolescents by age, gender, and level of physical activity, which can be found here. The document also includes recommended daily intakes for protein, fibre, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
With Mana, you can be confident that you are giving your children the best nutrition currently available on the planet. It also makes it easy to count the ratio of all nutrients per calorie, as well as control total calorie intake.
 A. C. Nicolucci, M. P. Hume, I. Martínez, S. Mayengbam, J. Walter, R. A. Reimer (2017) Prebiotics Reduce Body Fat and Alter Intestinal Microbiota in Children Who Are Overweight or With Obesity.
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