As parents we want the best for their kids, but we know it can get confusing with the
foods we should make sure they are eating for a healthy diet. So, to help you we
have put together some useful information about nutrition for children.
For a child’s body to function in a healthy manner it requires basic nutrients on a daily basis.
Carbohydrates: These are the major sources of energy for the body.
Carbohydrates are divided into two groups;
Complex Carbohydrates: These are naturally starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, bread, pasta and vegetables.
Simple Carbohydrates: These include sugary foods, e.g. Cakes, biscuits and chocolate as well as processed foods containing a lot of salt.
Is also found in carbohydrates e.g. fruit, vegetables, grains and is not used for energy but for a healthy bowel.
These play an important part in the structure and function of all cells in the body. Protein deficiency can cause retardation in children.
Protein – rich food include animals sources (complete) e.g. meat, fish, milk and vegetable sources (incomplete) e.g. pulses, nuts and grains.
Fat in its true sense provides energy, heat insulation, cushioning and buoyancy to the body. Because of association of high fat diets with obesity and heart disease it is generally recommended that fat should contribute to less than 35% of the total calorific intake.
Fats are the source of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Animal sources
include butter, lard, fat, milk, fish oil and vegetable sources include vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. Foods high in saturated fat include all dairy products such as cheese and butter.
Vitamins and Minerals:
These are required by the body in minute amounts and are required for good health and growth. Each vitamin and mineral has a specific function and one cannot be substituted for another. Many vitamins and minerals are needed to form a balanced diet as they play a vital role in a number of activities including regulating the heart rate, bone formation, digestion and nerve and muscle activity. Vitamins and minerals come
in a variety of sources and are found in all of the above food groups especially in fruit and vegetables.
The importance of fluid intake is of paramount importance in children as it is responsible for their temperature control, chemical reactions and therefore normal function. This is an essential nutrient, vital for the maintenance of life. General recommendations are to drink at least 8 cups of water per day.
Water can be found in fluid form in fruit and vegetables.