Making healthy food choices for children isn't always as easy as it seems.A balanced diet is one that perfectly suits the child’s needs.Healthy eating helps to promote the normal growth and development and will help to protect against later disese.Breast milk or formula is an essential source of nourishment through out the first year.Once weaning starts it is important to establish a healthy diet that provides the five essential nutrients: carbohydrates,vitamis ,fat,minerals and protein.The child’s needs are different from our own,children under 5’s need significanly more fat and concentrated sources of calories and nutrients to fuel their rapid growth during early years. Children who lack the essential vitamins and minerals do not perform well academically and also tend to have more aggressive behavior (as per Good Eating Habits for Children).
Food is divided into 5 groups, which are based on the nutrients that they provide. Healthy diet for a child should include food from each group every day. Food Group 1; Potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice. These are high-energy foods, which also contains vitamins and minerals (as per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt pg .no .196). •Rice
Everyday meals should include foods from this group throughout the day. Children from this group require 4 servings examples of one serving are: •1 bowl of breakfast cereal
•1 slice of bread
•1 small potato
•2 tablespoons of cooked rice or pasta.
Food group 2 consists of fruit and vegetables, which are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are needed to develop a good immune system, which will help to fight colds, the flu, and other diseases. Fruits and vegetables, which are high in vitamin C must be, included in children’s diets every day. Foods in this group include: •Tomato
•Citrus fruits such as orange and grapefruit
Some children enjoy eating raw vegetables in place of cooked vegetables, others, which are not keen to eat vegetables offer them fruit or fruit juice instead. From this group children require 4 servings everyday examples of one serving are: •1 glass of fruit juice
•1 piece of fruit
•Sliced tomato in a sandwich
•2 tablespoons of cooked vegetables
•1 table spoon of dried fruit, such as raisins
The best way to eat fruit or vegetables is to eat them raw this way their vitamin content will not be destroyed (as per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt PG .no .198). Milk and dairy foods belong to group 3, this group includes milk, yoghurt and cheese. The daily intake of milk each day should be 1 pint, which is enough intake of calcium. Children that does not achieve this milk intake, equivalent amounts of calcium can be taken from yoghurt, cheese and so on (as per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt pg .no .198) Children under 5 must never be given reduced –fat milks because of their lower energy and fat-soluble-vitamin content, however 2 year old children can be given semi-skimmed milk. From this group children require 3 servings every day examples of one serving are:
•1 glass of milk
•1 pot of yoghurt or formage frais
•1 tablespoon grated cheese, such as cheese on top of a pizza Group 4 contains high-protein foods, these foods include
•Pulses-peas beans, lentils, nuts and seeds
Children require 2 servings every day from this group examples of one serving are: •A portion of fish fingers
•A portion of baked beans
•A scrambled egg
•A small piece of chicken
(As per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt pg .no .198).
The last group is group 5 that contains fats and oils that are found in the four groups, meat and cheese contain fat and some vegetables contain oil. Fat is essential to growth and for energy. The parents needs to make sure that there is enough fat in the child’s diet and at the same time encourage healthy eating by choosing lean meat and using vegetable oils rather then butter for frying. Milk...