As adults we strive to minimize eating fats, and in particular saturated fats.

When choosing chicken, for example, we aim for skinless chicken, or remove the fat after cooking.

When serving children chicken soup, I doubt that keeping the liquid fat in is suitable. They should, I suspect, be served the same soup as adults.

But is choosing skinless chicken in any way harmful for athletic and thin children? Do they need a bit of fat in their diet, in particular during growth spurts (from 4-6 years, and from 11-14)? In those years no amount of calorie intake seems to keep a child from looking increasingly thinner. Does intentionally serving dishes with some fat in (such as cooking a whole chicken in a pan in the oven, with the chicken ending up absorbing some of the dripping fat) do the children any good?

Do you prefer skinless chicken for children, as you would for adults?

  • 9
    I’m not sure the premise of this question is current with medical science - it’s not clear that saturated fats are the bad thing they were once thought to be. Are you primarily just interested in an answer that assumes they are to be avoided, or do you also welcome answers addressing the concern generally?
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 23:59
  • @Joe If you'll answer arguing that neither children nor adults need to fear getting a significant number of their calories from (saturated) fats, I'd welcome that answer even more than one saying that children alone need fats (and need not worry about fats) to grow normally—since that would simplify meal preparation. But if you'll argue for being heavy handed while adding oils in food, it would also be nice to see some pointer to an authoritative source.
    – Sam7919
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 0:03
  • 1
    Not sure I’ll answer or not but thought it was good to get clarification. I’d hope any of these answers would have plenty of authoritative sources behind them!
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 0:04
  • @Joe Good. We're speaking in unison.
    – Sam7919
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 0:05
  • 4
    I do worry this is from a misguided assumption. As Joe mentioned, modern studies appear to refute the "sat fats bad" message, and many folks, myself included, will ensure we keep the skin and fat as it not only seems healthier overall, but also much more ecologically sound as it reduces waste. So I would prefer skin on chicken, as I would for adults.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


You might want to read this article about fat and cholesterol from HealthyChildren.org, which published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Here is an excerpt:

Fat in Food: How Much for Children?

Childhood is the best time to start heart-healthy eating habits. But eating healthy for most children doesn't mean following adult goals for cutting back on total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, particularly for children younger than 2 years. Fat is an essential nutrient that supplies the energy, or calories, children need for growth and active play and should not be severely restricted.

However, if your child is younger than 2 years and overweight or at risk for overweight, or has a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, reduced saturated fat dietary choices may be appropriate. Check with your child's doctor or a registered dietitian before restricting fat in your child's diet. Between the ages of 2 and 5 years, encourage children to gradually choose foods with less fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. By age 5, their overall food choices, like yours, should include heart-healthy foods such as low-fat dairy products, skinless chicken, fish, lean red meats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

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