As parents, we want to give our children the best possible start in life, and as society’s understanding of the importance of nutrition to children has improved, there is an increasing emphasis on the need to ensure that they have a balanced diet.
Whether you are planning a meal for your children or running the catering services for an international school in Singapore, if you are responsible for a child’s diet, it is vital to ensure that it consists of a fully balanced range of nutritional food. How and what your children eat now will have a major impact on their developing health throughout their adolescence and young adulthood. By helping them to eat food packed with important nutrients, their physical and mental development will be maximized.
A balanced diet means a diet that contains all of the essential minerals, vitamins and additional nutrients that a child requires for healthy development and optimal growth. Some nutrients that are vital to health include calcium and vitamin D, which play a major role in the normal growth and health of bones; iron, which is essential for proper cognitive growth; vitamin D, which can help the immune system; and omega-3 DHA, which is one of the most important nutrients supporting brain function.
Most parents have come to understand how vital a balanced diet is to a child’s healthy development and growth. But a balanced diet also plays a crucial role in ensuring your children learn healthy eating habits that will stay with them throughout their lives, including a healthy appreciation of different types of foods and their nutritional value.
The key is getting the balance of different foods right to help your child keep a healthy body weight and obtain all of the necessary nutrients. Your child’s diet should include a high proportion of starchy foods made from grains or flours, such as bread, pasta or rice as starchy foods provide plenty of energy, fiber and vitamin B.
Another vital part of any child’s diet is fruits and vegetables, and you should ensure your child’s diet features multiple servings every day. Fruits and vegetables are low calorie, low protein foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them vital for your child’s proper development. Along with fruits and vegetables, ensure that your child is getting enough protein-packed foods, such as chicken, fish or lentils, as protein is an essential component in the repair and growth of muscle.
There are other important sources of protein that should also be included, such as whole milk, cheese and yoghurt. These products also contain calcium, which is good for strong bones, and a host of helpful vitamins and minerals.
If you can combine these elements on a regular basis while making sure that your child avoids eating foods that are full of ‘empty’ calories made up of fat, sugar and salt, you will be ensuring that your child has a balanced diet and develops good food habits for life.