Longevity Diet for Children and Adolescents

  1. The Longevity Diet is a complete dietary program appropriate even for little ones. It contains all the nutrients children need: vegetable and animal proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
  2. Protein content should be regulated by age. Children should consume the following grams of protein, per kilo of body weight, each day:
    –     1.3 grams up to 1 year old;
    –     1 gram from 1 to 4 years old;
    –     0.9 grams from 4 years and up.

    For example, a 9-months-old baby who weighs 9 kg should consume 11.7 grams of protein a day; a toddler 3-years-old weighing 14 kg should consume 14 grams a day; and a child of 10 years old weighing 30 kg should consume approximately 27 grams a day.

  3. Consume both vegetable-based proteins from legumes and nuts, and animal protein from fish (2-3 times a week, yet avoiding fish high in mercury), while eating less frequently red meat, white meat and eggs (1 serving a week for each of these foods, and ideally organic).
  4. Consume abundant quantities of carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (legumes and vegetables), thus reducing foods with high starch content (the 4Ps: “pasta”, “pane” (bread), “pizza”, “potatoes”+ rice) and sugars (fruit, fruit juices, snacks, and sweetened carbonated beverages). However, to reduce does not mean cut out altogether, but rather consume minimal amounts.
  5. Eat whole wheat foods with caution and other foods high in fiber like legumes if the child shows signs of intestinal discomfort. In such cases, consult with a pediatric gastroenterologist.
    6.  Reduce to the utmost minimum saturated, hydrogenated and trans. fats. Limit salt and sugar. Still, sweets can be eaten in moderation, every so often, especially healthy ones made with fruit and dark chocolate.
  6. Eat within a 12-hour period, e.g. begin with breakfast at 8 am and end with dinner at 8 pm. This is especially important for overweight and obese children. Small exceptions can be made (i.e. 11 or 13-hour periods) if body weight is within the norm.
  7. Meals and snacks must not exceed 4-5 a day.
  8. Use a scale to keep track of weight and a flexible measuring tape to measure waist circumference. Take measurements with the following frequency:
    a. Once a month for children of normal weight;
    b. Once every 2 days for overweight, obese, and underweight children.
  9. Eat more—not less. For children in general, and especially overweight kids, substitute high-starch foods like pasta, bread, rice and potatoes with vegetables and legumes, which are rich in fiber and therefore fill you up faster. For example, take 50-60 grams of the starch-rich foods each day and substitute with 100 or more grams of carrots, broccoli, chickpeas, and beans, etc.
  10. Be somewhat flexible with the rules so that you find the right plan for each child, particularly with the help of a nutritionist. For example, if it makes a child happy, let him or her indulge in a can of soda and pizza once a week, and then make substitutions suggested at point 10 of this list.
  11. Choose ingredients recommended in this book but give precedence to local, seasonal, and organic ingredients and those eaten by your ancestors—as much as possible.
  12. Do at least one hour of exercise (sports) and an hour of walking a day.

These are the results of the questionnaire, which is discussed extensively in chapter 4 of Professor Valter Longo’s new book
“La longevità inizia da bambini”.