Children grow rapidly from the time that they are born. In the first year of life, it is estimated that they triple their birth weight and grow up to 25 centimetres. And they keep growing in leaps and bounds after this! To aid in this growth, you need to feed them the best that you can in order to help this massive growth rate along. So what is the secret to good nutrition for your children? Read on to find out!
What should you be feeding your children?
Your should be feeding your child a balanced, healthy diet (read our article, entitled What does a good diet look like?, to find out what you should be including in a balanced diet) that includes daily allowances from all the major food groups. Every good nutritionist will tell you this. However, you should be paying special attention to the following.
As we mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, children grow at an extremely rapid rate. They also expend a lot of energy learning about, and discovering, the world around them. This means that they need energy to do this. This means that good nutrition for your children is essential. To get this, make sure that your children’s food is rich in unrefined grains such as wholewheat bread and oats as this are easier to digest and is more nutritious for them as it contains essential nutrients such as Vitamin E, magnesium and fibre.
In terms of servings, experts recommend:
- Three daily servings for toddlers aged 2 years-old
- Three – five daily services for children aged between three and four who are going to pre-school
- Five daily servings for children aged between five and eight who are going to school.
Healthy fats – as found in avocados, olive oil and nuts – help to protect children’s hearts. Let your children have bad fats in the form of fast food or the like once in a while but make sure that they realise that this is a treat and only happens occasionally. Let them experience what it tastes like because if you deny them this type of food altogether when they get the chance to have chips at a party they will eat as much of it as they can. The key for good nutrition for your children is a balanced diet.
For toddlers aged two, it’s recommended that they have one serving of oil per day. Children between the ages of three and four should have one serving of oil per week. Alternatively, they can have between one and four servings of nuts or seeds per week. School-going aged children (between five and eight) can have one to two servings of oil per week or between two and four services or nuts or seeds.
Protein is the main component of muscle – approximately half a kilogram of muscle contains 86 grams of protein! Children are extremely active. Sometimes, this activity causes them to hurt their muscles. This means that it’s essential for them to take in enough protein into their bodies so that they can repair the muscle that is damaged.
Your child’s heart and arteries are developing so, in order to ensure that they don’t get clogged up with bad cholesterol found in fatty cuts of meat, prepare lean cuts of meat (such as skinless chicken breasts) or fish for them to eat. Fish, specially oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, has the added benefit of being rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are essential for the development of your child’s brain and nervous system. So it’s an excellent idea to get them to love fish!
Trifocus Fitness Academy has an excellent range of nutrition courses that will help you become the best in the business when it comes to nutrition. Our Nutrition for Children Course – as well as our Specialised Nutrition Course – will teach students all that they need to know about what it takes to develop excellent nutrition habits in children. (Follow this link to learn more.) The Register of Exercise Professionals South Africa (REPPSA) has also endorsed it for 5 CPD points. Our Athletic Nutrition Course will give you the necessary skills of how to develop eating plans for your athletes so that you can maximise their training routines through nutrition. All in all, you can’t beat us for a great nutrition course!