Children's Nutrition - How important is it

Childhood and adolescence is a period of rapid growth and development, especially for the brain and nervous system, the digestive system and the immune system.

During this time, it is vital that a child receives high quality raw materials in the form of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Furthermore, it is essential that the complete spectrum of nutrients are supplied in the right amounts in order to ensure normal growth and repair.

After the age of two, a child’s nutritional needs are much the same as those of an adult, and a balanced diet should be carefully chosen according to the ‘Revised Food Pyramid’ (RFP) recommendations (details covered in the next issue).

Food Group Servings

Each day, the number of servings for each food group should be approximately:

Vegetables: 5-7; Fruits: 2-3; Whole grain (cereal, bread, pasta) 3-5; Proteins (fish, chicken, lean meat, legumes) 2-3; Good oils and oil rich foods(nuts, seeds, olive oil, flax oil) 4; Dairy (low fat) 1-2.

Junk foods, including refined carbohydrates, deep fried foods and those foods containing hydrogenated oils should be avoided. Like many things in life, this is an ideal to strive towards, though not always easily achieved.

Food Supplements

A simple and effective way to ensure that your child’s daily nutritional needs are met is with a high quality nutritional supplement, containing a balanced blend of the required vitamins, minerals and antioxidants necessary for optimal health.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of the ‘Basic Four Food Groups’ and the ‘Eating Right Food Pyramid’. However we may not be aware that the scientific research over the past thirty years has shown that these concepts are out of date and may even have been contributing to the enormous increase in diabetes and heart disease.

These degenerative diseases are now occurring much more frequently in children and adolescents (particularly diabetes), as is also attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Nutritionists the world over agree that diet plays a major part in the development of these conditions.

How are we to nourish our children, as well as ourselves, correctly so as to reduce the risk of these diseases, and promote good health? The answer lies in the newly developed ‘Optimal Health Food Pyramid’, recently devised by Dr Michael Murray and Dr Michael Lyon. It is based on the scientific research from the last thirty years, also taking into account our ancestry, the quality of foods currently available, modern environmental conditions and our current lifestyle.

Optimal Health Food Pyramid

The ‘Optimal Health Food Pyramid’, also provides additional recommendations for basic supplement and lifestyle components.

The bottom, largest, section of the pyramid, contains vegetables, 5-7 servings. and 4 servings of oil rich foods (nuts, seeds, and salad oils such as olive, flax, macadamia and canola). On the next level are whole grains, 3-5 servings, and legumes (i.e. beans and peanuts), 2-3 servings (or 4-5 for vegetarians). Closer to the top we have fruits, 2-3 servings and high quality protein (lean chicken or turkey, fish, eggs), 2-3 servings. At the top are dairy foods (low fat), 1-2 servings, which may be substituted by a calcium supplement. Below the Pyramid are the basic lifestyle and supplement recommendations: daily exercise (stretching, strengthening and aerobics), pure water (8-12 glasses), and basic nutritional supplements (high potency multivitamin and multimineral, fish oils and a greens drink). (Article written by Tony Reid. DTCM, DAc, CCP, MAACMA)

Tips: Introduce fruit and vegetables as snack foods for morning and afternoon tea.

Remember: Good eating habits start young.

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Disclaimer: Article on our website are for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.

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All articles on this website have a copyright.  The use of any material must have permission from Cradle 2 Kindy Parenting Solutions.

Disclaimer: Articles on our website are for education purposes only.  Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.