A healthy life requires proper development from the earliest childhood. Kids and nutrition and healthy eating is a lifelong learning process. Without a doubt, it is a challenge in a fast and dynamic time, to maintain healthy eating habits.
However, when it comes to our loved ones, it is necessary to find time for home-cooked food, because the results of this diet are always noticeable.
“Insufficient amounts of adequate nutrients in childhood can lead to side effects on growth and development.”
Early childhood is a period of intensive growth and development, but also the most vulnerable period in human life.
Lack of certain nutrients in childhood can lead to side effects on growth and development.
A healthy and balanced diet means using food products that meet the energy needs of the child’s body, but also provide harmonious growth and development as well as building children’s immunity!
The results of the systematic examinations of primary and secondary school students show increased body weight in about 10% of students and 7.8% of female students.
By introducing nutrients, the body maintains efficiency and activity, provides high energy activity and disease resistance.
The food we eat must be balanced with physical needs and contain a sufficient amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
What should your child’s to-do list contain?
Meat – beef, beef, chicken prepared by cooking. Avoid roast, and especially avoid fried meat.
Pork, delicacies, and various processed meats are not food for your child.
Meat is rich in protein, which supplies the body with essential amino acids.
They can not be created by the child’s body and they must be ingested as such with food.
Essential amino acids are essential building blocks for every organism, especially for children, for their growth and development.
It is optimal and recommended for the child to eat meat four times a week as part of the main meal.
Milk and dairy products
At the end of the first year of breastfeeding or the use of adapted milk is already over and in the daily diet you can switch to cow’s milk and its products – yogurt, sour milk, sour cream, yellow cheese, and melted cheese.
Milk contains proteins, fats, sugars but also calcium, vitamin A, phosphorus, and potassium necessary for muscle work and nerve balance.
The daily need of the child organism for milk and dairy products does not exceed 500-600 ml.
Although children usually do not like fish very much, it should still be on their table at least three times a week.
In addition to the high protein value, fish supplies the body with essential fatty acids, omega three fatty acids that protect the heart and blood vessels and strengthen the immune system of the child’s body, protect it from infections.
During the winter and early spring, it is recommended that children receive at least 5 ml. fish oil daily which provides 1/3 of the daily needs of vitamin A and D necessary for building the skeletal and muscular system of the child.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Every day the child should consume different fresh fruits and vegetables, it is best to be seasonal fruits.
In addition to the richness of minerals and vitamins, vegetables, and especially fruits contain sugars that give energy to the child.
Seeds of different types of cereals supplemented with dried fruits (polenta, flakes, muesli, etc.) are best given as the first meal of the day.
Cereals contain carbohydrates and B vitamins, and dried fruits are high in energy and rich in trace elements (phosphorus, zinc, selenium).
What to do if your child does not want to eat?
Even though you know all this, preparing a variety of foods every day still happens that your child refuses certain foods, does not like meat, vegetables, or fish.
Try a few tricks to help get your child eating.
Take the example of how to prepare food in fast-food restaurants that children definitely love. Prepare the fish without the head and tail like a fillet, cut into sticks or croquettes.
Let the meat be finely chopped or minced. Cut the vegetables, of different colors, into small pieces and arrange them on a stick like a skewer.
Let the older child, as the chef, prepare the food with you. Saturday’s walk through the green market will also be interesting for your child.
He will see and touch all the fruits and vegetables, where a good uncle will give him a nice red apple.
Kids and nutrition the pyramids
BASE OF THE PYRAMID – cereals
Bread, cereals, rice, and pasta – 6 servings per day are recommended.
This group of products is very important because from it the organism receives the necessary energy for growing, playing, and learning, as well as B vitamins.
These products also contain a lot of dietary fiber, which is very important for maintaining good health.
SECOND ROW OF THE PYRAMID – vegetables and fruits
3 servings of vegetables a day are recommended.
Vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that are extremely important for children’s health.
Vegetables contain a lot of vitamin A, which is very important for eyesight and healthy skin. Two servings of fruit per day are recommended.
It contains a lot of vitamin C, which helps strengthen the body’s immunity.
THIRD ROW OF THE PYRAMID
– milk, meat, fish …
From milk, yogurt, cheese is recommended for two servings per day.
These products contain calcium, which is important for healthy bones and teeth. Yogurt, low-fat milk, and fresh cheese should be consumed more often, and less often butter and fatty or melted cheese.
Meat, fish, eggs, beans, soy, nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts are recommended two servings a day.
These products contain proteins that help develop muscle and iron that are necessary for the essential functions of the body.
TOP OF THE PYRAMID – sweets and fats
Sweet, fatty, and salty foods should be eaten in smaller quantities. Fats vary, so it does matter what kind we eat.
Avoid fats from meat and dairy products.
When the child turns 5 years old, he can start consuming whole milk with 1-2% fat from whole milk. When preparing meals, use olive, as well as other vegetable oils: corn, sunflower, soy.
Sweets are high in calories and low in nutrients, so avoid white sugar, sugary drinks, too much honey, sweet syrups, and the like.
Younger children (2-3 years old) need the same number of servings as older children, but of course, they should be smaller.
And don’t forget …
The most important thing is to choose healthy food every day!
Proper nutrition for school children
School-age children should have five meals a day, three main ones (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and two snacks. Meals should be taken at regular intervals.
Breakfast is a very important meal – it can either make or break your day. Breakfast provides 40% of the daily energy needs of the body.
Children who do not eat breakfast often have sleep deprivation, poor concentration, achievement difficulties, and poor attendance.
A balanced breakfast of cereals does not fatten, which is important to emphasize to the older school age, when girls, in an attempt not to gain weight, skip this meal.
Of particular importance is the school meal, a snack, which should consist of foods rich in nutritional value, but with less energy.
Candy, snacks, fast food (hot dogs, burgers), and carbonated drinks are not recommended. Such products are low in nutritional value, high in fat, and concentrated carbohydrates which can cause obesity.
Obesity becomes a risk factor for many chronic diseases later in life and is an important factor in the development of mental disorders, especially in the development of adolescence.
Improper diet can result in disproportionately low body weight, development of anemia due to iron deficiency, reduced resistance of the organism.
The development of school-eating habits of school-age children is most influenced by their parents, but the influence of schools in shaping the child’s personality and the adoption of the child’s habits in relation to healthy eating and behavior must also be emphasized.
Experts recommend 10 tips for practicing proper nutrition for children at home:
- 1. It is one thing to tell children to eat healthily, and it is quite another for parents to show it to them through their own example.
If the parents eat properly, the children will eat healthily.
- 2. Provide your home with fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
- 3. Organize snacks at the same time every day because children love routine. Have a snack at least 2-3 hours before or after the main meal
- 4. Involve children in food preparation.
- 5. Use the high and hard to reach shelves for salty snacks and cookies.
- 6. Shared family meals are very important. You should start the day with a joint breakfast.
- 7. Eat at the table, not in front of the TV.
- 8. Try new flavors and new foods. Children will accept something and something will not, and that is perfectly fine.
- 9. The rule that the plate should be “cleaned” is unnecessary. The child should eat until he is full because it is important for him to learn and feel hungry and to stop eating when his stomach is full.
- 10. Food is enjoyment and family meals should be enjoyable for everyone. You need to set aside enough time for family meals.
Leave difficult topics and disagreements for later.
Nutrition and kids: The eight most common mistakes of parents
Nutritionist Toby Amidor, an expert in this field, has some good tips for proper nutrition for your child. If your child is picky about food or does not want to eat at all, it is certainly not easy for you.
By now you have probably read a ton of texts and books on the subject. You’ve consulted with other parents who have the same problem, but when it comes to your child, those tips just don’t work.
Nutritionist Toby Amidor, an expert in this field, has some good tips for proper nutrition for your child.
Mistake 1: You make the child eat
If you are forcing your child to eat something he does not like, think again about this method.
This method of feeding can make you and your child tired, and the negative consequences are numerous because then you will disgust not only his food but also the complete ritual and the time when he eats.
Instead, pay attention when your child does not want to eat anything.
If you do not make a fuss about it, the next time the child eats the same, he will not complain so much, and in time and with your positive attitude, he will start eating that food quite normally.
Mistake 2: Cook only what the child likes
Many parents prepare only their children’s favorite food, precisely for fear that they will otherwise go hungry. However, that is not the solution. Instead, prepare a meal for your child that includes at least one favorite ingredient.
For example, if your child likes to eat only french fries and meat and does not like vegetables, prepare a meal with one ingredient he likes and one he does not like.
If the child is older, involve him in the preparation of the food, because it will motivate him to try everything.
Mistake 3: Insisting to eat everything from the plate
Parents generally overdo the dosage and the number of portions. If you can not determine the portion size yourself, seek professional advice.
It is a practice to serve one tablespoon according to the age of the child for each food. For example, give two-year-olds two tablespoons of rice, carrots, and some meat.
It is important that the child gets a snack an hour or two before the main meal.
Instead of forcing him to eat everything from the plate, make sure it is full and satisfied.
Mistake 4: Ignore the child’s taste
Children have a much thinner palette than adults (which is lost over time). Something that is not salty or spicy enough for you, for your child is too salty and strong.
Try to cook milder foods for your child and listen when he tells you that his food is too spicy.
Mistake 5: You give up too soon
Do not give up easily when your child refuses food for the first time. According to research, it is necessary to offer the child about 20 times the same food before he accepts it.
Instead of giving up on a particular meal, prepare those foods and let him play with them. This means touching them, putting them in your mouth, and then spitting them out.
In time he will accept a certain food and will not make a problem.
Mistake 6: Snacks
Snacks are not good for adults either, let alone as a snack for your children. This snack is full of sugars, artificial colors, and additives that are not good for health.
Instead of snacks, offer your child some fruit or other healthy food for a snack.
Mistake 7: Food as a reward
If you use some unhealthy foods like cakes or snacks as a reward for the lunch you eat, you are wrong.
This will make it easier for you to overcome your child’s bad eating habits.
Giving sweets as a reward can also develop an addiction. Instead of food, reward your child by taking him or her to a park or other activity he or she enjoys.
Mistake 8: Be careful with juices
It is recommended that the child drink about half a glass of natural juice a day.
Larger amounts than recommended only produce sugar deposits, which also affects the child’s lack of appetite.
Replace the juices with water, and if he really wants juice, then dilute it with water.
The nutrition of our children is very important for proper development.
With proper nutrition, children get all the necessary vitamins, proteins, minerals important for their development and growth.
Many vegetables, fruits, cereals, and certain amounts of meat and dairy products should be present in the diet of children.
On the other hand, many sweets, sugars, and other similar products should be avoided. Although at first children avoid certain foods, with persistence in the end children get used to proper nutrition.
We parents are an important factor that will help children learn what is good and what is bad food for their growth and development.
With perseverance and desire, you will more easily teach your children to eat healthily and properly.