What is a healthy meal? How do you know your child is getting the right amount of nutrients everyday?
Let’s look at the recommended mix of nutritious food options you should be including in your child’s diet: 1. 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. 2. A third of a plate of starchy foods at each meal like; potatoes, pasta or rice for energy and some fibre. 3. Protein in the form of dairy because it is rich in calcium, which is essential for strong bones. 4. Meat, fish, eggs and beans are also important protein options. 5. Healthy fats and sugars from fruit, peanut butter and soft margarine give your child lots of energy.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
What you serve your child for breakfast will be very different to what you prepare for lunch and dinner. Each meal should always incorporate foods from all the food groups: protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.
Healthy breakfast for kids
Beginning the day with a well-balanced meal means that your child has the right amount of energy for school and playtime. Try to include healthy starches like oatmeal, whole grain toast or fortified toddler cereal. Add to that some milk, yogurt, peanut butter or cheese so that your child gets the right amount of protein too. A few cubed pieces of fruit added to that will ensure your child gets the best start to the day.
Nutritious lunch ideas
Whether you are packing a lunch for school or preparing something at home, try and add all the food groups. A little bit of fruit and some carrot sticks for a snack is an easy way to keep the meal healthy. Make sandwiches out of wholegrain bread or add brown rice to a cooked dish. Include some cheese in the sandwich or even as part of the snack portion of the meal. Remember, meat, fish, chicken, eggs and beans are all great sources of protein that will keep your child energised till the afternoon.
Delicious dinners for the whole family
Dinner is family time in many homes. Prepare a nutritious meal that everyone can enjoy together. Include a balance of starch, protein, vegetables and healthy fats and remember that your child will follow your lead when it comes to healthy eating habits. Research has shown that children’s risk of being overweight and obese is reduced when at least one meal a day is consumed as a family at the dinner table. Try to avoid eating in front of the TV at all costs