Healthy balanced meals are central to the development and maintenance of healthy children. This means exposing them to wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and ensuring they consume the right portion sizes to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
We often refer to the Eatwell Guide produced by the Department of Health UK, which illustrates that a balanced diet should include:
- eat at least 5 portions of various fruit and vegetables each day
- meals based on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
- some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
- protein sources like beans, pulses, fish, eggs, or meat
- limited amounts of fat, choosing unsaturated oils and spreads where possible
- plenty of fluids, preferably water
If children are exposed to foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and/or sugar, it is advisable to reduce these both in amount and frequency.
It is important to note that the Eatwell Guide does not apply to children under the age of 2 as they have different nutritional needs; click here for information on Breastfeeding and Weaning.