Nutrition for kids: Guidelines for a healthy diet - Mayo Clinic
parties; and keys to and techniques in menu planning. . express to their carers or schools their nutritional needs. . have to design and provide nutritionally balanced meals with a variety of food items to meet children's Infants & Young Children"("HK Code") is issued by the Food and Health Bureau and the Department. and supports development of healthy eating habits in young children, both to support individual children's Meeting children's nutritional requirements . example menus and recipes as a guide when planning their own food provision, but. CYPOP Plan meals for young children that meet their nutritional needs based on current government guidance and information from.
Children may prefer raw vegetables e. They may find them easier to eat if served cut up into small portions e. Offering them repeatedly may improve acceptance. Offering fruit and raw vegetables e. Tinned fruit should be in fruit juice or natural juice and not in syrup.
Choose tinned vegetables in water with no added salt. Fruit, vegetables and salads are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and other bioactive components, which protect children from ill health. This protection begins early and continues throughout life. They also provide an excellent combination of fluid and fibre to help prevent constipation in young children.
Offering these colourful foods with a variety of tastes and textures stimulates children's interest in fruits and vegetables as well as challenging their palates. The introduction of a variety of fruit and vegetables at a young age may improve consumption throughout life. This will help to meet the recommendation of five portions a day. Offering raw chopped fruits and vegetables at the beginning of a meal when children are most hungry and 'waiting' for their food is an excellent way to get them to eat more foods from this group.
Tinned fruit in syrup has a high added sugar a content, which contributes to tooth decay.
Many tinned vegetables are in brine, which is salted water. Vegetables green and salad vegetables, root vegetables, pulses Serve vegetables so that they are appealing and user-friendly. They may be popular cold, raw, as finger foods, served with fruit in salad or incorporated into main dishes.
Fresh soups with vegetables are an excellent way of including pulses and vegetables in a meal. There should be a minimum of one portion of vegetables in each serving of soup. Most dried and tinned soups are very high in salt and some have a low vegetable content. Avoid these foods as they make it difficult to meet the nutrient guidance for sodium salt.
Healthy Meal Plans for Kids
Baked beans are nutritious and popular with children; when serving them, choose lower salt versions. Canned spaghetti and similar products, e. Vegetables are essential for a balanced diet. They contain unique protective components that are not found elsewhere in the diet. Be creative to encourage young children to consume them on a daily basis. Some children prefer vegetables raw as finger food or incorporated into dishes raw rather than served in the traditional way.
It is not uncommon for canned spaghetti or pasta shapes in sauce to be mistaken for a serving of vegetables. Fruit Fruit should be offered with every meal and most snacks.
Fruit-based desserts, such as fresh fruit, tinned fruit in juice, fruit salads, fruit crumble, fruit jelly or fruit pie, are popular options for young children. These composite fruit dishes should contain a minimum of one portion of fruit per serving. Most fruit yoghurts provide less than one portion of fruit and therefore fresh fruit should be offered in addition to fruit yoghurt. Pure fruit juice is a good source of vitamin C. A small glass or cup of pure unsweetened fruit juice, taken as part of a meal, provides enough vitamin C for the day.
Fruit juice should be given only at meal times. Dried fruit is an excellent source of nutrients but because of its high sugar content should be given at meal times only. There are many fruit-flavoured sweet products on the market, many of which contain little or no fruit but are simply flavoured to resemble fruit.
Make sure that fruit desserts have a high proportion of real fruit so that they contribute to overall daily fruit intake. Fruit juice is high in added sugars a and acidic, and drinking juice alone i. Fruit juice and other drinks should always be served in a cup or glass with or without a straw rather than from a bottle. Dried fruit has a high nutritional value and is a good food for children to learn to enjoy. However, as it sticks to teeth and can cause dental decay, it should be provided at meal times only.
Milk and dairy foods, yoghurts and milk-based desserts All meal and snack combinations should contain a portion or portions of food from this group. In children aged there is rapid development of the teeth and bones as they grow and move around more independently.
Calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, protein and other minerals are essential for this stage of development and are particularly well absorbed from milk and milk products. Milk and milk products provide a rich source of some of these nutrients.
Diets that do not include any milk and dairy foods are unlikely to meet the calcium requirements for young children. If a child does not have these foods e.
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Milk Plain drinking milk should be available as an option every day. Some children may still be having breast milk at and beyond the age of 1 year. For 1 year olds, who are not being breastfed, whole cows milk should be the main milk drink until the child is at least 2 years old.
From age 2, semi-skimmed milk can be introduced as long as the child is eating well and getting enough energy and nutrients from a varied diet. Fully skimmed milk is not suitable as a main milk drink for children under 5 years. From 5 years old fully skimmed milk can be used. Where only one type of milk is available e.
Drinking milk should be an accompaniment to meals and snacks and not a replacement for them. Plain milk should be provided. Flavoured milks are unsuitable because of their high sugar content. Milk provides essential nutrients and fluid in a readily available form.
Whole milk is also an important source of energy for young children. Low-fat skimmed milk contains insufficient energy and fat-soluble vitamins for children aged years. Occasionally a child will get into the habit of drinking large amounts of milk more than ml per day instead of eating other foods. This may happen after a period of illness simply because the child refuses to eat solid food.
Young children who persistently drink large amounts of milk rather than eating will have a diet that is deficient in energy and other nutrients, e. Flavoured milks are high in added sugars and can cause tooth decay. They are also very sweet and encourage a 'sweet tooth'.
Yoghurt Yoghurt is very popular with children and there is a huge variety of fruit-based and fruit-flavoured yoghurts to choose from. These are ideal options and can be served with fresh, stewed or frozen fruit, or fruit in natural juices.
Some contain crumbly and sticky substances e. These should not be provided. Other dessert type foods for children in cartons like yoghurt may be more like sweets or chocolate and contain little milk or fruit. Yoghurts can be an excellent source of calcium, protein, vitamin A and small amounts of vitamin D whole-milk variety and they are easy to eat. There is a huge choice of yoghurts on the market and it is often difficult to know which gives the best nutritional value.
Some are less healthy than others: Plain yoghurt and plain fromage frais is the best option and can be taken as part of a snack or meal. Fruit-flavoured yoghurts containing low amounts of added sugars a are less harmful to teeth 20 than yoghurts high in sugars and those with sticky sweet bits. The sweetened sticky additions to many novelty yoghurts are harmful to children's teeth and can contribute to excess energy intake from sugar.
Yoghurt should be eaten using a spoon and sweetened yoghurt should not be sucked from a tube as this is harmful to children's teeth. Cheese Cheese can be served as the main protein item instead of meat, fish or pulses. Cheese can be served as cheese and biscuits, cheese and fruit, as part of a salad or as a filling for sandwiches and baked potatoes, or sprinkled on top of pasta or rice dishes. A suitable small portion of hard cheese for a young child is around g.
Cottage cheese makes a nice change from hard cheese and can be served in a larger portion of g. Cheeses suitable for vegetarian children should be available. Cheese is a concentrated source of calcium and other minerals. The protein and mineral content may also help to promote dental health. Where a portion of cheese is served as the main protein item, it also counts as a portion of food from the meat, fish and alternative sources of protein food group.
Most hard cheeses and full-fat soft cheeses, though good foods, are high in saturated fat, so stick to the portions recommended to avoid excess intake. Vegetarian children will not take cheese that contains rennet as it is an animal-based ingredient.
Meat, fish and alternatives, e. Meat, fish and alternatives such as eggs, beans and pulses are a major source of protein, iron and zinc. These help to promote growth in children. Most children living in the UK have more than adequate amounts of protein in their diet. Beef, pork, lamb and poultry Red meat beef, pork and lamb -based meals should be served a minimum of twice a week. Lean meat fat trimmed off should be used in composite dishes. Red meat is the best source of iron and a major source of zinc.
Lean meats are higher in protein, iron and zinc than meats with a high fat content. This will help to improve the nutritional quality of meat used in recipes such as spaghetti bolognese, casseroles and stews. Processed meat products and pies Processed meat products, i. The vegetable content of composite dishes such as homemade pies should be increased where possible. Potato-topped pies should be encouraged in preference to pastry-topped pies because of their lower fat content.
Do not add salt. Processed meat products are mostly high in fats and salt.
Healthy Meal Plans for Kids
The quality of fat may be unhealthy high in saturated and hydrogenated fats and the quality of protein poorer than in fresh or frozen leaner meats. Also they may be lower in iron and zinc than lean meats. Using potato in a pie provides energy and varies the texture of a composite dish while also adding more nutrients, e. Composite dishes These dishes, e. Always increase the vegetable content whenever possible and do not add salt.
When fat is used in cooking or in dishes, use a vegetable oil high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, e. Vegetables can be easily incorporated into these dishes or cold salad items cucumber, tomato, lettuce, celery and carrot can be served alongside as finger foods.
This will help to increase the vegetable intake. Vegetable oils high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats improve the type of fat in the diet. Fish Fresh or frozen unprocessed fish, in addition to tinned tuna, should be on the menu at least once in a full 5-day menu. Processed fish products, e. This will provide variety. Tinned tuna fish is lower in protective fatty acids than other types of oily fish. This does not apply to fresh tuna. Oil-rich fish are also one of the few naturally rich sources of vitamin D.
Many children are not familiar with these foods and should be encouraged to try them by introducing tasters e. Many of these products are high in salt, although manufacturers are starting to produce varieties with a lower salt content.
Chopped nuts and nut pastes can be offered. Chopped nuts may be used in recipes. These are a good source of energy, protein and minerals. You will need to be careful with children who may have a nut allergy see section 3.
Vegetarian sources of protein see section 3. These should be varied through the week. Soya mince, textured vegetable protein TVPquorn and tofu can be substituted for mince and chicken in main composite dishes, e. Processed vegetarian products resembling meat products, e. These should be the main sources of protein for vegetarians.
The protein content of vegetarian dishes is often lower than in meat dishes. However, vegetarians can get sufficient protein from these dishes along with the other sources of protein in their diets, e. Pulses, including beans, lentils and peas provide excellent nutrition, including protein. They are very versatile foods for quick light meals and as ingredients in soups and casseroles. Pulses can be an alternative to a portion of meat, fish, eggs or cheese.
This increases the variety for vegetarians. Many meat substitutes are similar in texture to meat and may not appeal to children who do not like meat. Also, some may be high in salt. Processed vegetarian products are mostly high in fats and salt. The quality of fat in some of them is unhealthy hydrogenated fats. This group includes butter and spreads, cooking fats and oils, desserts, confectionery, cold and hot drinks, savoury snacks and bottled sauces Within this group there are certain foods that make an important contribution to the diet of children, e.
These snack-type foods are often unhealthy and unnecessary. Bottled sauces are generally very high in salt and should not be encouraged as part of the meal.
Butter, spreads and oils contribute to the taste, texture and enjoyment of the diet. They are important as concentrated sources of energy for young children who are growing rapidly. Fruit and milk desserts offer good sources of vitamins and minerals and are a pleasant change from savoury foods.
These foods are eaten too often by many children, especially if they have frequent and easy access to them. This contributes to a poor-quality diet, which can result in obesity, poor growth, tooth decay and general poor health. The over consumption of snack foods high in added sugar a, fats and salt is recognised as one of the major problems we have in Scotland. Encourage caterers to review home-baking recipes to reduce fats and added sugars a and include nutrient-rich, wholefood ingredients, e.
Desserts and puddings are popular and are important for boosting the total energy in children's diets but they should also provide nutrients. They can also help to increase fruit and milk intake. Mini-portion sizes are much better and served along with fruit will improve the balance of the diet. Children enjoy the different tastes and texture this provides. Butter and spreads Only butter or spreads rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and oils should be used, e.
These can be spread on breads and used in baking. These provide an important source of energy, essential fats and fat-soluble vitamins for children. They help to achieve a healthy fat profile in the diet.
Cooking margarines are high in hydrogenated fats. If your child drinks juice, make sure it's percent juice without added sugars and limit his or her servings. Look for canned fruit that says it's light or packed in its own juice, meaning it's low in added sugar. Keep in mind that one-quarter cup of dried fruit counts as one cup-equivalent of fruit. When consumed in excess, dried fruits can contribute extra calories. Serve a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried vegetables.
Aim to provide a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy and others, each week. When selecting canned or frozen vegetables, look for options lower in sodium.
Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice. Limit refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice. Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages. Aim to limit your child's calories from: Naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit and milk, are not added sugars.
Examples of added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey and others. Saturated and trans fats.
Limit saturated fats — fats that mainly come from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Look for ways to replace saturated fats with vegetable and nut oils, which provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E.