Nutrition

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Healthy eating for children

Key food groups

Try to make sure that your child is having the following everyday to ensure they are receiving all of the essential nutrients needed for optimum growth and health.

Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates such as cereal, bread, rice and pasta are a good source of energy for active and growing children.

Fruit and vegetables  The government has recommended that everyone, including children, should aim for five portions of fruit or veg per day. However, this can be difficult to achieve when you are trying to feed a fussy toddler. Try thinking outside the box and use fruit in puddings and smoothies, vegetables raw with a dip or made into soups or sauces.

Milk and dairy foods  Children need calcium in their diet for bone growth so you should attempt to incorporate some into your child’s diet. From the age of one you no longer need to use formula milk and normal cow’s milk is fine. If your child isn’t particularly keen on drinking lots of milk then you can incorporate dairy in many other ways such as in yoghurts, sauces and on cereals.

Protein  As an essential part of a child’s diet, protein is important for cell growth and survival among other things. Some form of meat, fish or other protein source should be eaten once or twice a day. Many nutritionists recommend 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be oily and any meat cooked should be tender to ensure chewing is not a problem.

Good alternatives to meat and fish are eggs and pulses.

Key nutrients

Vitamin A – Promotes growth, healthy skin and cell development and can be found in eggs, cheese and some vegetables. This can be taken in the form of a supplement.

Vitamin C – Required for the immune system and growth as well as helping the body to absorb iron. This vitamin can be found in citrus fruits and various vegetables and can be taken in the form of a supplement.

Calcium – This nutrient is necessary for the healthy development of strong bones and teeth. Calcium is commonly found in dairy products.

Iron  Plays a role in many essential bodily processes including carrying oxygen in the blood. Iron can be found in meat, certain dairy foods, some green vegetables and whole grains.

Zinc  Is needed to help the body’s hormones and enzymes to perform. Can be found in meat, fish, dairy, whole grains and nuts.

(taken from from http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/articles/infants-preschool.html )

We are currently working towards the Smile 4 life campaign which promotes healthy eating and drinking tooth brushing, visiting the dentist and a healthy lifestyle. This involves us looking at the food we provide and activities that we do to promote healthy eating and a healthy life.

(http://www.smile4life.org.uk/index.aspx)