Healthy Eating for Children

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Children require adequate amounts of a balanced variety of foods. These include fruits, vegetables, whole and enriched grains and cereals, milk and other dairy products, and meat, fish, poultry, and other protein products.'

Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of vitamins A and C and contain other nutrients such as B vitamins, trace minerals, and fiber.' Breads and cereals are excellent sources of B vitamins and. if enriched, iron. Whole-grain breads and cereals are also good sources of fiber, vitamin E, and trace elements such as magnesium. It is recommended that half the breads and cereals in the diet be whole grain.' Dairy products, especially milk, provide protein and serve as primary dietary sources of calcium and vitamin D. Milk provides the primary source of protein in early childhood. Protein in general provides dietary satiety. When the child makes the transition to table foods toward the end of the first year, more protein will be obtained from meat. fish, poultry, or other protein foods in the diet. These foods then begin to supplement milk as a source of protein and should thus be offered on a regular basts.' - Hoods from the meat group are good sources of protein, iron, and trace elements such as /inc.

When planning meals, a variety of foods should be offered at each meal. The meal should provide protein (in the form of meat. lish. poultry, eggs, or legumes), bread and/or cereal, fruit and/or v egetables, and milk (Table 8-1).

Children become hungry between meals, making snacks an important part of their daily intake. Snacks should be planned, so the child does not continually graze. They should be spaced to ensure the child is hungry at meals, with the interval between meals and snacks tailored to the child's hunger and satiety cues.1

Meals should provide adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates. and fat (Tables 8-2 to 8-6).14 Fat in moderate amounts is an essential component of any diet. It is recommended that no less than M)c/< of the calories in a child's diet come from fat. unless the child is on a special high or low fat diet.1 If the child is eating a lot of fast and/or junk food, it is likely that their dietary fat intake is too high.1

Carbohydrates prov ide a feeling of fullness and substance in a meal. Children generally enjoy starchy foods and thus do not have to be persuaded to eat them. The diet that is too high in carbohydrates may be too low in fat. however, and is likely to be unsatisfying.1

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  • patricia
    What is adequate interval between snack and meal?
    8 years ago

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