Feed Your Children a Healthy Balanced Diet
What you are feeding your child is extremely important as they are growing up, but also when they eat it is also crucial.
The recommendation is that adults eat 3 meals a day with a snack in the morning and the afternoon and this can be the same for children but just with an added snack in in the evening.
In order for a child to have a balanced diet they should be eating foods from all of the 5 food groups and sticking to the correct recommended percentages as follows:
• Fruits and vegetables – 33%
• Whole grain – 33%
• Dairy – 15%
• Meat – 12%
• Fat and sugar – 7%
If your child sticks to this, it ensures they are getting the right amount of everything. So let’s take a look at why these are so important for their development.
Carbs – These are essential to give your child energy.
A lot of calories will be burned if your child is on the go all of the time and with a 3rd of their calorie intake coming from carbohydrates and whole grain, they are going to have all of the energy they need for the day.
Protein – Your child needs protein in order to build up antibodies that will protect them from a number of diseases.
Protein will also build, sustain and repair their muscles therefore 27% of their calories should come from high protein foods such as meat, dairy and eggs.
Vitamins and minerals – These are needed so that your child’s organs and cells are developed properly as well as to boost their immune system.
They need calcium in order to build strong bones and teeth and Vitamin D in order for the body to break down calcium so your body can absorb it.
It you do not get enough Vitamin D, the calcium is wasted through the digestive system.
This process works exactly the same with vitamins such as A, D, E & K as these are fat soluble meaning that if you do not have the correct amount of healthy fats to dissolve and absorb into the body, these are also wasted through the digestive system and your child will be deficient in these particular vitamins.
To stop this happening your child needs to consume good fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Water – This is an extremely vital ingredient in your child’s health and the amount they need will vary based on a number of factors such as; level of physical activity they do, the outdoor temperature etc.
Take a look at the average amounts below, these are based on their age group and at 8 ounce servings per day:
• Age 4-8: 5
• Age 9-13: 6
• Age 14 and older: 8
Your child’s health when they get to adult age will depend on what, when and how much you are feeding them in the early years.
Follow these guidelines and make sure they are eating the right amount of meals and snacks at roughly the same time each day with the right amount of portions and this will ensure they follow a healthy, balanced diet.