WHAT SHOULD CHILDREN EAT?
Childhood is a time of rapid growth, maturation of body systems and cognitive development. All of these processes are reliant on good nutrition to be most effective. There are a variety of nutrients that are particularly important to consider in growing children.
Young children are both impressionable and usually fascinated by their parents, caregivers and older siblings etc. This makes it an ideal time to build on the good habits encouraged in toddlerhood. As children get older it becomes increasingly important to provide them with information and encouragement to make good food choices, as well as the freedom to express their likes and dislikes and to provide options. It is even more important as children become more aware of their parents behaviour to continue to set a good example, eating regular, healthy meals.
Tips For Children
- Source information from a variety of places and always look for factual evidence that supports comments and opinions
- Variety is everything. A diet that lacks variety will invariably lack some nutrients
- Parents and care-givers are the sources of nutritional habits and preferences. Children don’t always do as you say, but toddlers do love to do what you do!
- Help children to feel involved in food choices and meal preparation. This stimulates an interest in different foods and in cooking and will provide a foundation for a healthy relationship with food.
- Don’t introduce nutrient poor, calorie dense foods to babies and toddlers. What they don’t know about, they won’t want. Spend the first years of children’s lives surrounding them with a variety of healthy foods.
- Ensure children are well hydrated. Don’t wait until they ask for a drink, offer them water regularly.
- Small frequent meals are often better for young children. Don’t serve large portions or force children to clean their plates.
- Fat is important in children’s diets. Until at least the age of two, keep dairy products full fat.
- Use different textures, temperatures and flavours.
- Persist with new foods but don’t force children to eat what they truly dislike.
- Work hard early on to establish healthy habits and preferences, this lays a foundation which can help parents deal with the later impact of fast food advertising and peer pressure.
- Remember that poor nutrition can lead to illness, increased risk of a variety of diseases, lethargy, poor cognitive ability, behavioural problems and a variety of other conditions.
Learn More about What Children Should be Eating
Learn about how a Parent's Diet can affect their Baby, even before it has been born
STUDY CHILDRENS NUTRITION
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