Proper nutrition of children is very important for their health and proper development. During childhood, intensive growth occurs. This is why a well-balanced diet is so important.
What does healthy nutrition mean?
A healthy diet means providing the right amount
- nutrients and minerals,
All nutrients should be supplied to the body through a properly balanced diet.
Your child’s diet should be based on properly balanced meals from 5 product groups:
1. Bread, potatoes and other cereal products
Products in this category should make up 33% of the daily diet, meaning they must be the basis of every meal or snack. Other grain products include:
- breakfast cereals,
Products in this group provide:
- energy, or carbohydrates,
- b vitamins,
2. Fruits and vegetables
Products from this group should constitute 30% of the daily diet. They provide vitamins A, C, E as well as minerals and antioxidants. For young children it is enough to give 5 small portions of vegetables and fruits every day.
3. Milk and dairy products
Products from this group should make up 15% of your daily diet, they are a great source of:
- vitamin B (in dairy products),
- vitamin A and D.
Children should be given dairy products and whole milk.
4. Meat, fish, eggs, seeds and nuts
Products from this group should make up 12% of all meals, they are a source of:
- b vitamins,
- omega-3 fatty acids
- vitamin D,
- folic acid,
- vitamin E,
- unsaturated fatty acids.
5. Fats and sugars
Should make up only 8% of the daily diet. Fat is necessary for better absorption of vitamin A and E. The diet should be dominated by monounsaturated fatty acids, which can be found in:
- olive oil,
- canola oil,
- nuts and seeds.
Products with a high fat content should not appear in the child’s diet. It is worth replacing sweet snacks with fresh or dried fruits.
What should not be missing in the diet of a child?
A child should eat varied meals, containing lots of fruit and vegetables. It is essential in the diet of a child:
- protein – for muscle and bone health;
- vitamin A – for proper vision development;
- vitaminE – for the proper functioning of muscle tissue;
- vitaminD – for the proper functioning of the nervous system, helps in the absorption of calcium by the body;
- vitaminC – strengthens the body’s immunity, necessary for normal growth;
- folic acid – needed for the production of red blood cells;
- calcium – ensures proper functioning of the heart and nervous system, takes part in blood clotting, builds bones and teeth;
- magnesium – regulates metabolism in the body;
- phosphorus – necessary for the proper development of the skeletal and nervous systems;
- zinc – essential for proper functioning of the immune system, building of muscles, bones.
During intensive growth, the child should be provided with all necessary nutrients, and it is important to ensure a proper amount of balanced meals. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to e.g:
- underdevelopment of the skeletal system,
An excess of these nutrients can lead to overweight and obesity.
Main Photo: Ekaterina Shakharova, source: unsplash.com