Healthy eating for your growing child

Healthy eating for your growing child

By Palak Mittal  on: 28 April 2016
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When your child first starts school, he or she will start growing quickly and becoming more active. Children’s energy and nutrient needs are high, so it’s important they get the right foods.

Protein is important for growing children as Protein is responsible to make them tall, Protein also helps in building tissues and calcium is important for the stronger bones and teeth.

A proper and healthy choices of food helps your child grow taller and stronger. Here are all the things you can give and avoid in your child's diet.

What to give

Children need a healthy balanced diet containing plenty of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods. Encourage your child to choose a variety of foods to get the wide range of nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Remember to include these sorts of foods:

  • milk, cheese, yoghurt, soya beans and nuts – these foods are rich in calcium, which is needed for healthy bones and teeth
  • fortified breakfast cereals, oily fish – these foods are good sources of dietary vitamin D, which helps to keep bones healthy
  • meat, which is a rich source of iron – fish, pulses, green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of iron
  • citrus fruit, tomatoes and potatoes, which are all good sources of vitamin C

Always remember

  • Do Not force your child to eat more. Children have a small stomach size and can't eat much at a time
  • Keep introducing new foods in the diet so that child gets familiar with that particular food easily, before introducing the next food
  • Keep the portion size small
  • Give your child 3 main meals and 2 healthy snacks in between.
  • Make the plate attractive so that child tempts to eat food
  • If your child don't want to eat greens then start adding them in chapati, sandwiches, pao bhaji or in Kathi rolls.

 

Foods to limit

There are certain foods and drinks that can be harmful to your child’s health if they have them too much or too often.

Sweets and snacks

Eating sweet and sticky foods frequently between meals causes dental decay. Snack foods such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sweets can be high in sugar and saturated fat, and low in certain vitamins and minerals. If your child does eat these sorts of foods:

Try to make sure they eat them only occasionally or in small amounts, so they only make up a relatively small part of the overall diet
Help and encourage your child to clean their teeth every day
Try picking a weekly sweet day, or choose the weekends as a time when your child is allowed to eat sweets
Check the label and choose those options lower in fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt

Drinks

Sweet drinks damage teeth, especially if drunk frequently or sipped from a bottle over long periods between meals. So try to keep drinks such as fruit juice or squash to mealtimes, and try to encourage your child to drink water or milk in between.

Salt

There’s no need to add salt to your child’s food. The maximum amount of salt your child should have depends on their age. As a guide:

four to six years – 3g a day
seven to ten years – 5g a day
11 years upwards – 6g a day

If you’re buying processed foods, even those aimed at children, remember to check the information given on the labels to choose those with less salt.

 

Vegetarian diet for children

If you want to give your child a vegetarian diet, it's important to make sure their diet is balanced.

Getting enough protein

Make sure you find an alternative to meat, fish and chicken as the main sources of protein. These could include:

  • pulses (lentils and beans)
  • milk
  • cheese
  • eggs

Getting enough iron

You need to make sure your growing child is getting enough iron. Good sources of iron include:

  • wholegrain cereals
  • leafy green vegetables such as spinach and watercress
  • pulses
  • Nuts

Remember, eating foods containing vitamin C with iron-rich foods, might make it easier to absorb iron from our food.

You should also avoid giving your child too much tea or coffee because it could reduce the amount of iron they can absorb.

Healthy weight

If you encourage your child to eat a healthy balanced diet with only small amounts of foods containing sugar and fat, and you encourage your child to get plenty of physical activity, they should maintain a healthy weight

If you are concerned about your child's weight, you are free to contact me for personalised advices.


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