Healthy, Balanced Diet
When making a meal for your child think about the main food groups; protein, carbohydrates, fats and sugars and fruit and veg, are all of these on their plate? Protein can come from meats such as chicken and turkey, and fish; it is recommended that children have 2 portions of fish a week. Pasta, potatoes and bread are all categorised as carbohydrates and should accompany a protein on your child’s plate. Most people think you should avoid fats and sugars to have a healthy balanced diet but this is not true; you have to make sure you are eating the right fats. The ones to avoid are the saturated fats on pork, essential fatty acids like in fish are good for a balanced diet. Lastly, there should be vegetables or fruit on your child’s plate.
5 a Day
To achieve a healthy balanced diet, your child needs to have 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Fruit and vegetables contain important nutrients and vitamins needed for your child’s growth. Getting these foods into your child’s diet can be difficult to achieve if they are a fussy eater but this shouldn’t deter you from encouraging them to eat their veggies – see our article on fussy eating.
Calcium is a factor in a child’s balanced diet because it strengthens teeth and bones, which will be carried on into adulthood. Without calcium in the diet, the body draws on the bones weakening them. Dairy products such as; milk, cheese and yoghurt, are easy and delicious ways to make sure your child is getting the daily recommended amount of calcium.
Our article, Kids Nutrition: How Much Calcium do Kids Needs tells you how much calcium your child needs see here.
Don’t forget important nutrients contribute towards a healthy lifestyle as well:-
Vitamin A contributes towards healthy skin, teeth and produces the pigment in the retina of the eye – encouraging your child’s eyesight. It is also an antioxidant (like Vitamin C). This vitamin can be found in eggs, meat, milk, cheese, cod, carrots, and many dark green vegetables.
You’ll find Vitamin A in Nunu milk – learn more about this here.
Vitamin D aids in the consumption of Calcium. Without this, bones are not able to form to their full potential. Luckily there is an unlimited supply of vitamin D as everyone’s fingertips – sunlight! Yes, the sun provides Vitamin D to all, and it doesn’t have to be scorching hot either, just being outside should be giving your child enough vitamin D. So although we can also find Vitamin D in oily fish (i.e. salmon and sardines), eggs and some breakfast cereals, making sure your child spends time out of the house everyday should ensure they are getting enough.
Water is full of essential minerals and vitamins your child needs to have a balanced diet. Six to eight glasses of water a day is the recommended amount. It looks after your skin and teeth as well as keeping you hydrated and flushing out the bad stuff in your body.
Eating healthy is only part of having a balanced diet, to get the full experience you need to be making sure your child is getting enough exercise. Exercise can strength bones and reduce the fat content in the body. Children are naturally playful and active but you should still encourage them to play games outside and interact with sports. Read about what exercises we recommend here.