School age is the perfect time for children to learn about healthy food, bodies and activity. Children need a wide variety of foods for a well-balanced diet. The amount of physical activity they have in a day will be an important part of how much they need to eat. When children are busy and active, snacking is important to keep energy levels high. Decline in physical activity, coupled with eating too much, too often is the simple explanation for the rise in childhood obesity. Prevention is easier than cure, so here so it is important to inculcate correct eating habits to you raise healthy children, for life.
Healthful eating has many benefits for children such as:
- Helps to stabilize their energy.
- Improve their minds and thinking.
- Even out their moods.
- Help them maintain a healthy weight.
- Help prevent any health conditions.
Some helpful tips those are essential:
- Essential in child’s diet include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in right proportions.
- It is important to encourage breakfast, because a good night’s sleep followed by food in the morning helps your child stay active and concentrate at school.
- At home, try and keep relatively structured meal times so children learn that there are times to eat during the day and times not to.
- Children need a variety of different foods each day.
- Highly processed, sugary, fatty and salty foods should only make up a very small part of your child’s diet.
- A glass of milk (or a tub of yogurt or slice of cheese) equals a serve of dairy food. Three serves are needed each day for calcium.
- Snacks are an important part of a healthy diet for active children, so offer nutritious as well as high energy snacks.
- Give your child lunch to take from home
- Children of this age may have swings in appetite depending on activity levels, so allow them to choose how much they need to eat while offering a wide variety of healthy foods.
- After school some children only eat small amounts at the evening meal, so make sure that the afternoon snack is nutritious, not just high in energy.
- Let children help with food preparation and meal planning.
- Plan to share meals as a family.
- Enjoy talking and sharing the day’s happenings at mealtimes.
- Encourage physical activities for the whole family.
- Encourage children to drink plain water.
- Limit screen time and aim for some physical activity every day
- Weight and measure your child every 3 months, this way increases in weight can be monitored and managed early.
For further advice on nutrition for children contact our Paediatric and Neonatology services at Wockhardt Hospital.