Healthy eating for kids aged 3-5 –

I’m a bit worried about if she’s getting
the right food and the right amount especially as she’s growing older. As a parent you obviously want to make sure
your children are getting the best, so it does cross your mind from time to time. The first step is to make sure that your child
enjoys meals, so you need to create a nice, happy family atmosphere, a social atmosphere
at mealtimes. It’s important that you eat the foods you want your child to eat, because
children learn by copying you, but it can be difficult to always have family meals,
so try and do it as often as you can. Don’t insist your child eats everything
up on their plate. Just offer them small portions so they don’t feel overwhelmed, and then
if they eat it all up you can offer them a little bit more. It’s important to offer your child a good
combination of all the five food groups. That way they’ll get all the nutrients they need.
There are recommended ranges of portion sizes for toddlers, because they eat well sometimes
and sometimes they eat less. It’s good to have a routine of meals and
snacks throughout the day, because grazing on food all day isn’t good, and a routine
makes a child feel safe and secure and they know what to expect. Also they wouldn’t
get enough nutrients out of just three meals, so you do need to add in those extra nutritious
snacks. It’s important to offer your child enough
drinks each day. Six to eight is about enough if you offer them with each meal and each
snack, but you might need to offer more after lots of physical activity or when the weather’s
very hot. Three to four ounces is really enough. Water’s a very good choice, but if you offer
fruit juices or squashes, make sure they’re very well diluted for their teeth. I do find it hard to give the right nutrients
and vitamins. If your child is eating well, then they’ll
get all the vitamins they need except for vitamin D, because vitamin D mainly comes
from sunshine, and not all children get enough of it, so the Department of Health recommends
that children under five all take a vitamin A and D supplement each day. Children have different tastes and preferences,
and it’s important to respect those so that you’re not forcing your child to eat something
that they don’t like. Some children like wet food and casseroles and things all mixed
together, but other children like dry food, and sometimes they like it kept separate on
a plate, so it’s important to offer the food in the way they like it, and for the
foods they refuse, just keep offering them because eventually they will be happy to eat
them, especially if you’re eating with them. Children love spending time with their parents
and they really enjoy their attention and praise, so use these as rewards for your child.
Don’t use food, because then you make those foods you’re using more valuable, and that’s
usually the opposite of the healthy eating message you want to teach them. There are certain foods that you need to limit
and others that you need to completely avoid when feeding toddlers, and so it’s a good
idea to note these down. And the final step is about keeping your child
physically active for about three hours a day, but your child needs to have about 12
hours sleep a day and that’s important for their growth, and the other thing to limit
is TV and computer time. Keep it to less than one hour a day. So these 10 steps are a guide
for you to try and follow each day. Remember small changes can make a big difference.