Nutrition of children is of particular importance because children are growing intensively, and they are physically active, and mentally engaging (learning) on a daily basis. Kids eating pattern should be based on the principles of proper nutrition, which is best represented by the plate of 5 food groups. This should apply not only at home but also in school dining. It is also important for children to know when and how much to eat. Parents should be made active participants in educating children about healthy and balanced nutrition.
What are the two most common mistakes mum and dads make?
ü Forcing the kid to eat. Serving larger portion size especially if it’s not tasty or overcooked.
ü Bribery - for example, "eat this and I'll give you a chocolate", which is you kids know is a bribe.
Proper serving size for younger ones 7-9
Cereals 2 slices of bread size as a toast for breakfast and a slice for lunch and dinner, made from whole wheat,
Total = 4 slices
Each slice can be replaced with:
· ½ a cup of cooked cereals (barley, quinoa, millet, amaranth, wheat).
· ½ a cup of rice or pasta (recommended integral instead of white)
· 1 cup of cereal flakes; try to avoid them, since expanded cereals lose much of their nutritional substances during production. (before you think yuk, wait until your try some of the lovely tasty breakfast ideas our school chef can come up with first!
Vegetables (fresh or frozen)
· 1½ a cup each day, sliced or chopped or if it’s easier for measuring a size of two fist of child’s hands. Include it every day through salads, stews, soups or in raw sliced form as a snack.
· 1-1½ a cup, or a size of a tennis ball, every day
· 1 cup of juice made from freshly squeezed fruit, 2-3 times a week. It’s always better that the kid eats the whole plum, but if it refuses, make a juice. The downside is that in such form, it has no fibers because they are destroyed during chopping and squeezing.
Milk and dairy products
· 2 cups of milk or yogurt (made from cows, goats or sheep milk and in case of lactose allergy use alternatives such as almond, rice or soy milk).
· 1 slice of cheese or if it’s fresh cheese (white), size of two fingers (kid size)
· 1 teaspoon of spread (butter, cream cheese)
Meat, legumes, nuts and seeds
· 4.5 – 5 oz of meat, poultry or fish (combine through two main meals)
· 3 Tablespoons of dried legumes (beans, peas, lentils,
· 1 egg, medium sized
· A small handful of nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios are great choice for a small snack which will provide with a boost of energy during school breaks).
· 1 tsp of seeds (any kind except poppy seeds as they contain natural morphine, so if you want to add them to some meal, soak the seeds for five minutes first and then discarding the water before adding them to any recipe. All other seeds you can just chop and add to some smoothie or salad)
When it comes to oils use amount of a teaspoon.
Try to avoid processed food like sweets and treats or offer them just in some special occasions. Unfortunately, this junk food is all around us, it is advertised on TV, radio, magazines, billboards and the internet. The packagings are so colorful and appealing that parents do not see the amount of sugar, salt and several added chemicals, because of the colors on the declaration. Although no parent would allow a child to eat two full tablespoons of sugar, it is exactly what will happen if you just give a cup of some store-bought juice.
We not saying kids can’t eat sweets and other processed food but youshould certainly be limited. It is primarily for your kids to understand that this isn't food - it’s a treat. So ask our schools catering team or if you want to know more or write to our nutritional team,we are more than happy to advise you what food are best for, you, mum and dad. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanja Milenkovski is MPH Registered and licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, she has a Masters degree in the field of Public Health (MPH RDN, LDN), and a Bachelors degree in field of Medicine & Health, Nutrition & Dietetics
So be smart and chose smart!