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Making sure that children eat a balanced and nutritious combination of food is an essential part of their development. Children are constantly growing, and they need the right nutrients to help them maintain a healthy weight, recover quickly from illness, build up strong bones and muscles, and keep up their energy levels. Poor nutrition can cause a range of health problems such as obesity, asthma, high cholesterol and heart disease, as well as learning difficulties and low self-esteem.

What should children be eating?

Children need to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups every day. This means:

  • plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
  • wholegrain breads, cereals, rice and pasta
  • healthy sources of protein such as lean fish, eggs, nuts and poultry
  • milk, yoghurt and cheese

Children also need to stay well hydrated, so only offer water rather than soft drinks or fruit juice. Junk food and takeaway should be consumed only as an occasional treat.

How to establish healthy habits

You can encourage good nutrition by offering your children plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable options every day. If they don’t like raw vegetables, you can try steaming or grilling them to make them more appetising. Frozen fruits can also be provided if you’re running low on fresh fruit or in hot weather as a substitute for highly sweetened icy poles or ice-cream.  Be a good role model for your child by making sure that you always make healthy choices, and get the whole family involved in healthy eating. Make breakfast part of the morning routine, eat meals together at the table, and avoid using junk food as a reward or a comfort.

Bone health

Children need a calcium-rich diet to support bone development and reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. The best way to make sure children get their recommended calcium intake is to give them three serves of dairy food every day. Each serve could be a glass of milk, a tub of yoghurt, or two slices of cheese. Making sure children get enough calcium will ensure their bones reach their optimal strength.

Dental health

Tooth decay is still a common health problem for many children in Australia. It’s important to establish good dental hygiene routines as early as possible, but good nutrition and eating habits can also help prevent gum problems like gingivitis. Dairy foods play an important role in maintaining good dental health as they provide children with calcium, phosphorus and the milk protein “casein”.

Physical activity

Proper nutrition should be supported by a healthy, active lifestyle. Encourage children to be active and find physical activities that they enjoy. Playing outside for an hour every day can help children maintain a healthy weight and general wellbeing. Try to limit your child’s screen time and encourage more physical forms of play.

What are some of the ways you get your kids to snack & eat healthy?! Share your healthy tips in the comments below or post a photo of you & your family enjoying something healthy this Spring!

Don’t forget to tag MoM’s & hashtag #nutritionforlifewMoMs

  • Proper nutrition is something we should all be doing all our life – it wards off many aging diseases and especially all the dementia ones. Healthy nutrition leads to a healthy body and a healthy mind.

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  • A lot of this is what we know and we tend to do our best to follow these rules. I’m always looking for ways to include more vegies eg. in sauces, etc. and even in smoothies now by adding spinach to them etc. My son is now 16 and learning and understanding himself the importance of foods to help sustain his activity and life.

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  • I think a lot of this is common sense, cheers.

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  • great, informative article, thanks for posting.

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  • Great informative article and read.

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  • It’s important to give variety of food to the kids so that they can get all the nutrients. It should be like fruits , vegetables . Avoid using processed and prepared food. As most of these foods contain preservatives.


    • I agree, more fruits and veg and cut out the processed junk, it clogs their little systems and causes colds.

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  • Good nutrition is so important indeed ! To get our kids eat and snack healthy we simply don’t buy junk, sugar or processed food. We cook from scratch and use lots of pure recipes. Fruits, veggies, nuts & seeds, eggs, wholesome breads, my kids love them all.


    • It is good family time too – when you cook together. A time to learn and a time to chat – cooking together is one of my favourite times.



      • So true, my kids love that too !

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  • Thanks for the informative article.

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  • Avoid processed foods and eat healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables.

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  • We all participate in choosing and buying foods from the fresh food markets – it is the best way to teach children and families about where food comes from and the goodness of foods. We still have and enjoy treat foods- it is all about balance and exercise too.

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  • I try to give a lot of fruit and vegetables to my daughter. I am not so sure about the importance of milk. I agree about the importance of calcium, but that can be found in green leaves, in sesame seeds, legumes..


    • I agree, I brought my son up vegan and he has never had a problem with protein or calcium. It is a matter of eating wholefoods and not something out of a packet or box.

    Reply

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