health and safety for babies and children · pre-school 2 - 5 years · seasonal news/tips · teenage pregnancy/mums

‘friends say i can’t put my child on a diet, how can i help my kids then?

A diet for a baby and child is where an unusual type of food is eaten e.g. a baby has a diet of milk, a balanced diet is of which contains enough of all the food substance needed for a well nutritional balance for a child. where as a diet to an adult is where they want to have (eat) low calorie foods to help them loose weight, be and feel healthier.

The funtion of nutrients are to help the body grow, to provide energy in order to carry out physical movements for activities through out the day, keep the body warm and to help carry out other essenstial processes of the body such as digestion. Macronutrients are used to explain nutrients needed in large amounts in the body such as protein, carbohydrates and fat. micronutrients are used to explain nutrients that are needed in small amounts of the body such as vitamins and minerals.

To give a child a balanced diet you need good reasons for this such as,

  • able to develop a strong, well formed body.
  • have energy to keep warm and active.
  • keep healthy.
  • Grow to there full potential height (inwhich there genese will allow)
  • maintain a suitable weight for the childs height and age.

 to help with a balanced diet, offer a variety of food during the day, the child would eat what their body needs. a child should have some milk, protein foods e.g. meat, fish, cheese, eggs, beans, vegatables, fruit, pasta, cereals, wholegrain etc. if a child is a vegetarian to help the child get the protein they need they will have to consume foods that contain this such as milk, cheese, beans, vegatables, fruits, nuts etc.

If a child doesn’t like drinking milk, other ways that milk can be given are in puddings such as custard and snacks such as yogart, milkshakes and cheese.

A diet maybe unbalanced by either shortage of food, too much of a certain food, or lack of essential substance in the food. an unbalanced diet can lead to a child having less energy, failing to thrive etc, this is known as malnutrition.

Key points to consider when planning meals for young children:

  • include protein, calcium, iron and vitamins A&D which are essential for growing children
  • include fibre (high) in there diet – vegatables, fruits, wholemeal bread. (firmer textures can be introduced to encourage children to chew)
  • whole milk is recommended for children, children over the age of 2 can be given semi-skimmed milk.
  • choose healthier ways of cooking e.g. grilling instead of frying, steamer, slow cookers (very handy for a working parent to cut and prepare the food and leave it to cook on low all day for maximum of 8 hours) , use a hob instead of a microwave.
  • give children a variety of different foods as preferances are established in early childhood
  • mealtimes should be regular, with limited snack foods in between mealtimes.
  • offer fruit when ever the child feels hungry rather than buiscuits snacks or crisps.
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