By teaching our children healthy eating habits, in other words, serving them continuously a balanced diet you can help them to maintain a healthy weight and normal growth AND what’s most important they will stay away from many dangerous diseases of modern days like: diabetes type 2, obesity etc. If we can instill good habits and a healthy relationship with food from an early age, will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults. Ensure your child’s nutrient requirements are met by aiming for three meals a day, each containing something from each food group and up to two snacks. Get into the habit of trying different types of protein with each meal and couple of different vegetables.
The food groups that make up this balanced diet are proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and milk and dairy foods.
Fruit and vegetables
Aiming for five portions of fruit and vegetables is a good starting point for children. Easy tips for keeping on track could be as simple as keeping a bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer or chopping up a piece of fresh fruit for dessert.
Children need a source of carbohydrate in each meal. However, young children under 13 months may struggle to digest wholegrain varieties of carbohydrates, and too much fiber can compromise the absorption of important minerals such as calcium and iron. Beyond 13 months children can usually tuck into wholegrain breads, muesli and pasta.
Dairy and calcium
Children gain a lot of nourishment from dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese. These foods can provide the body with easily absorbed calcium as well as vitamins A and B12, protein and other vitamins and minerals. Choose full-fat milk for children under two as it is important for growth and the absorption of essential vitamins. From two years you can make the switch from full-fat to semi-skimmed milk, provided your child is eating a wide variety of foods and is gaining weight normally. Choose natural yogurt and add your own natural sweeteners such as fruit compote, stewed fruit or honey.
What to not include in their balanced diet? In order to install healthy eating habits to your children avoid as much as possible soft drinks, sweet, biscuits, sugary pastries and desserts, because they are high in added sugars and often poor quality fats and salt. The over consumption of snack foods high in added sugar, fats and salt is recognized as one of the major contributing factors to high rates of obesity.