We all know how important healthy eating is for us and our children. Here are some tips for ensuring your child gets a balanced diet.
Getting the right amount:
All the nutrients a child needs can be found in the following four food groups, try to offer all of these every day:
1. The cereal group – this includes breads, cereals, pasta and grains. Try to provide between 3 to 5 servings each day. Half a slice of bread provides one serving for 1 to 5 year olds, one slice of bread is a serving for 6 to 12 year olds.
2. Fruit and vegetables – offer plenty of fruit in the diet (a child’s handful of berries or half an apple is a portion). Vegetables such as green beans, broccoli and most root vegetables are often more readily accepted. Start children eating veggies young and they are less likely to reject them as they grow older. Remember – children learn by example, so if you are not a fan of vegetables, can you expect your child to eat them?
3. Milk group – make sure your child has milk, cheese or yoghurt at least three times a day.
4. Meat, fish and alternative groups – meat, fish, eggs, pulses and nuts are needed two to three times a day. These provide a good source of protein and iron. A portion size of chicken for children between 1 to 3 years is roughly a third of a small breast, 4 to 12 year olds between half to one small chicken breast.
Packed lunch ideas:
Sandwiches, pasta or rice salad, bread and soup: Use a different sandwich filling each day – preferably including a fruit or vegetable. For example, Peanut butter and grated apple, Chicken, lettuce and tomato, Grated cheese and carrot, Tuna and sweetcorn, Cheese and cucumber, Mashed banana, Hummus.
Fruit and vegetable: try cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices or sticks, carrot or celery sticks, baby sweetcorn, raisins or apricots, canned fruit in a leak proof pot, satsumas or tangerine, apple (brush with lemon to stop browning.
Sweet treat: Scones, Malt loaf, A flapjack, Yoghurt, Teacakes, plain cake.
Savoury treat: Rice cakes, Bread sticks, A boiled egg, Cheese and crackers, Nuts
Try to cover all the main food groups.