Recommendations for a healthy diet for children during the school year
The basic principles that determine balanced and adequate nutrition in children are energy and protein requirements. Energy requirements depend on variables such as age, gender, body weight, physical activity, puberty, basal metabolism and growth rate. Practically, energy intake in a child should be equal to consumption. If there is a tendency to obesity, energy intake should be reduced, physical activity should be increased and time spent in front of the television and computer should be limited.
The recommended portion sizes for children are smaller than those for adults. The important thing in nutrition is to ensure diversity; it is necessary to focus on the consumption of foods from different groups rather than the amount of portions eaten.
Sugars (sugar found in foods containing natural sugars) and fats should be used sparingly.
Meat, fish, chicken, legumes, eggs and oilseeds should be consumed 2-3 times a week.
Milk, yogurt and cheese should be consumed 3-4 times a week.
Fruit and vegetable group should be consumed 4-6 times a week.
Bread, cereals, rice, pasta group should be consumed 3-4 times a week.
Creating a balanced diet that is compatible with the school menu
Create a diet in line with the school cafeteria menus. Checking what your child has eaten all day and preparing the evening menu accordingly will ensure a balanced diet. If your child did not eat vegetables at school at noon, you can add vegetables to the evening meal.
Choosing healthy and nutrient-rich foods for snacks
While your child is studying at home, you can prepare a bowl of 10 hazelnuts, 10 almonds, 2 walnuts and 2 dried apricots as a snack. These foods not only regulate blood sugar levels but also contribute to your child's mental development. Do not offer acidic and caffeinated drinks or ready-made fruit juices. These drinks have no nutritional value and provide children with unnecessary calories. Instead, opt for homemade, unsweetened drinks such as compote or buttermilk.
Preparing foods they don't like in a way that interests them
Try foods they don't like in different combinations. For example, if they don't like spinach, you can make baked hash browns with spinach. You can make the foods they don't like interesting by offering them in a different environment and with different people. Since children's habits are changeable, they may want to eat a food they don't like when you offer it again after a while. For this reason, you can also offer foods that they do not like at certain intervals.
Not skipping breakfast, the first and most important meal of the day
At breakfast, you should make sure that your child eats especially protein foods. Dairy products and eggs, which are an important source of protein, are not only rich in nutrients, but also keep you full for a long time.
It makes your child more dynamic during the day. In order for your child to get the calcium he/she needs, cheese should be included in breakfast. In addition, consuming nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts and foods such as molasses or honey at breakfast supports your child's mental development. Another indispensable food for breakfast is foods with rich nutritional value such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and avocados.
On certain days of the week, you can also offer your child homemade pancakes and crepes prepared with healthy flours.