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 and cheese contain saturated fats, but are also a good source of calcium, protein, and vitamins. Foods and drinks that are high in fat and sugar must be limited and they should only be given at mealtimes to prevent tooth decay.
A balanced diet for a baby is different from a 5-year-old child. The baby’s nutritional needs change as they grow so at each stage of development they need the right balance of nutrients and energy to support healthy growth. The tummy of a baby is smaller then an adult it is about 10 times smaller so we need to make sure that every spoonful the baby eats is filled with the right nutrients and goodness (as per The importance of a balanced diet). Babies don’t need to have large meals but meals needs to be small portions and given regularly and throughout the day. For the first 6 months breast milk or formula provides all the nutrients the baby needs and it should be the main source of nourishment. By the time they are 6-9 months they might have the first tooth (maybe more) so it is important to introduce solid food, which will help the baby to learn how to chew, and the tongue movements to develop. Breast or formula milk should remain the babies main drink as it contains nutrients that cow’s milk lacks, such as iron and vitamin D .At this stage start to introduce a wider variety of foods and new tastes which can be either presented mashed or chopped in small pieces. Finger food such as carrot sticks; toast, apple, and banana can be introduced even to babies that don’t have any teeth. A balanced weaning diet should be as follows:
•Group 1 Cereal foods, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes
•Group 2 Fruit and vegetables
•Group 3 Meats, fish, poultry, lentils and beans
•Group 4 Breast or formula milk and dairy foods such as yoghurt and cheese (The above were taken from unit 6 session 1 notes)
Starchy foodsBread products, cereals (including pasta and rice) and potatoes. These foods provide your baby with the energy they need to grow and develop. Offer your baby a portion with each meal and at some snack times. Fruit and vegetablesFresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit and veg. Fruit and vegetables contain a whole range of vitamins and minerals, which are important for your baby’s development. Ideally you should offer some at each meal and for snacks, with a variety of different colors. Milk, cheese and yogurtThese foods are rich in protein, calcium and some vitamins and minerals. Your baby will need at least three servings a day, either to drink or in cooking. Meat,fishand alternativesMeat, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses such as lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and dhal. They are a valuable source of protein, iron and omega 3 fats. These foods should be offered once or twice a day to meat-eaters or two to three times a day to vegetarians. Foods high in fat and sugarExamples of foods high in fat and sugar are oils, butter, cakes and biscuits. Fats and sugar provide lots of energy, which is what your baby needs, but they contain only small amounts of vitamins and minerals. So these may be included in your baby's diet, but make sure they are given as an extra and do not use them to replace one of the other food groups.
A healthy diet is based on breads, potatoes and cereals and is rich in fruits and vegetables. It will also include moderate amounts of milk and dairy products and a limited amount of food containing fat or sugar. The eatwell plate or the food pyramid is designed to help us make a healthy diet. Foods that are like each other sit in the same group, if the child does not like potato it can easily be swapped with pasta, which they belong to the same food group. By eating the correct amounts each day you’ll get the balance of energy and nutrients you need for good health. (as per The eatwell plate.).
The eatwell plate
A balanced diet contains the essential nutrients that are present in a variety of foods. If the balanced diet is consistent it will also provide regular supply of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. The difference is a healthy diet plan provides us with some nutrients but the balanced diet plan provides us with all essential nutrients (As per A balanced diet or a healthy diet).
A healthy balanced diet can be affected by culture, allergy or illness. Some food may cause allergic reaction about 5% of children have food allergies; some children outgrow their allergy. Common food that are known to cause allergic reaction; peanuts, soy, tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, peacan, wheat, milk, eggs and fish (as per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt pg .no .209). Milk being the most commonly cause of food allergies in children, peanuts, fish and shellfish can also cause the most severe reactions. The symptoms of an allergic reaction include; vomiting, eczema, whezzing, cramps, and diarrhea, these symptoms can occur within minutes or up to an hour after ingesting the food. Anaphylaxis is a very rare type of food allergy, it is a severe reaction, which involves areas of the body, and in some extreme cases it can cause death. Peanuts, eggs fish, shellfish and nuts are type of food, which can cause anaphylaxis. Food allergies can be avoided by not giving child food that are allergic to them .It is important to learn how to interpret ingredients on food labels and how to spot high- risk food (As per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt pg .no .210). Eventually some children outgrow their food allergy symptoms, as they get older, however parents still need professional advice to ensure that their child is receiving a safe balanced diet.
Illness can also effect the child’s appetite especially if they have got fever .You can still offer them food but never force the child to eat. Some illnesses may result to failure to thrive; these are usually chronic illnesses or conditions that recur frequently in childhood (As per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt pg .no .210). Examples include: congenital heart disease, severe asthma, infections, cystic fibroses and urinary tract infections. Children require a therapeutic diet, which helps to replace or eliminates particular nutrient to prevent illness. There are different diets depending on the child’s illness and they very from one to another. Children suffering from cystic fibrosis need to eat 20% more protein and more calories then children without disease. They also require daily vitamins supplements and pancreatic enzymes. If a child is diagnosed as being overweight will usually be given a specific diet low in fat and sugar but high in fiber carbohydrates, for example whole meal bread and other cereals.
Many cultures have strong beliefs about what people should eat and each culture has its own view on what a good diet constitutes. In some cultures it is also considered important for woman to eat a very nourishing diet after birth and while breast-feeding so that they regain their strength and are vulnerable to illness.
Faiths, cultures and diet:
BuddhismBuddhists believe that it is wrong to hurt or kill animals and that a human soul can be reborn in an animal body. For this reason many are vegetarian (although some do eat fish), and some traditions such as the Mahayana Buddhists follow this more strictly than others. ChristianityMost Christians have no religious objection to eating any kind of meat. Some fast on Fridays or during Lent mainly for spiritual reasons. HinduismHindus consider the cow as a sacred animal and therefore do not eat beef. Some Hindus are vegetarians and do not eat eggs or fish. Hindus believe that animals have spiritual awareness. If a Hindu were to consume meat they would need to equal the balance by doing good actions and may learn the lesson in this life or the next. IslamPractising Muslims have to keep to a very strict diet and they have to treat animals with compassion. For muslims to be able to eat meat (the word halal means it is permissible) it has to be slaughtered in a particular way. During the month of Ramadan Muslims must not eat during the hours of daylight. JudaismJews have strict rules about their diet know as the “Kshrut”. The word “Kosher” means permitted and “Treif” means forbidden. Only certain animals, fish and birds can be eaten. Jews are not allowed to mix dairy and meat food together, they would not be allowed a cheese burger and must wait before consuming any dairy products after eating meat. SikhismMost Sikhs are vegetarian and don't eat eggs or fish or any foods made out of them. Sikhs are not allowed to consume alcohol because they need to be alert at all times.
(As per Faiths, cultures and diet)
Family income can effect the diet a child recieves Children that are on poor diets are more vulnerable to infections because they are not getting adequate minerals and vitamins .
A healthy diet will help to ensure the body is getting the nutrition it needs and will also help to maintain a healthy weight.Eating a wide variety of food is one of the best ways to help the body getting the nutritional contrbutions it needs each day.We need food to give us energy for physical activity,to provide material for the growth of body cells and for the repair and replacment of damaged body tissues (as per per T. Bruce &C. Meggitt pg .no .194). The childhood age is the actual age of growth and development and thus in this age essential nutrients are very important for the body. Lack of such nutrients can abrupt the proper growth of the body and may lead to certain diseases sooner or later. Eating a variety of foods can help prevent diseases such as diabetes, cancer and obesity. Children develop life long eating habits when they are young as well, so presenting the correct food groups is very important. If a child learns how to eat correctly when they are young, they are twice as likely to eat healthy, as they become an adult.