NUTRITION AND HEALTHY MEAL OPTIONS FOR CHILDREN
Nutrition refers to everything that your child eats and drinks. Your child’s body uses nutrients from food to function properly and stay healthy. Nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. In the right amounts, nutrients give your child energy to grow, learn, and be active.
Calories are the amount of energy in the foods and drinks your child consumes. Children need a certain amount of calories to grow and develop. If your child takes in more calories than his or her body needs, the extra calories will be stored as body fat.
As a parent, the nutritional needs of your baby or toddler are obviously a priority, and the food a child eats in their early years can influence their dietary habits later in life, so it’s important to instill good habits and a healthy relationship with food from an early age.
Children’s immune systems are underdeveloped, which makes them prone to infection, therefore when considering a child’s diet, it’s important to know what to include and what not to include in order to avoid illness.
Enjoying a varied diet
All foods contain different nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In order to get all the nutrients they need, it is important for children to have a varied diet containing lots of different foods. Aim for three balanced meals a day and up to two healthy snacks. Get into the habit of trying different types of protein with each meal and a couple of different vegetables.
Children develop a natural preference for the foods they enjoy the most, so the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing.
Healthy snacks are also a prerequisite for children, as they provide good nutrition and supports healthy eating habits. It also keeps at bay sicknesses like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and much more.
Water is important and should be provided at all times for the children and not only for meals.
Having a healthy relationship with food
Ensuring children have a healthy relationship with food will establish a positive attitude to eating in the long-run. Try to teach them about food and nutrition (for example where their food comes from) and get them cooking early on.
Encouraging appropriate portion sizes
Get use to dishing up ‘me-sized plates’ instead of adult-sized plates as this can encourage overeating. Avoid forcing your child to clear their plate if they are not hungry.
Follow the Mummy’s Yum Guide
Getting the right amount of food groups in their diet promotes health and well-being. The Mummy’s Yum Meal Guide is a helpful starting point.
Mummy’s Yum Meal Plan is geared towards providing healthy nutritious meals and snacks that will help in the growth and development of children in the childcare and The Baby Lounge is proud to be partners with Mummy’s Yum.
Special consideration has been given to children in our crèche to ensure our meal plan is centered around the huge benefits in providing them with a healthy and nutritious diet.
- Water and Milk are the best drinks for children. The calcium in the milk is good for bone development. Fizzy and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. Water has globally been adjudged the best drink for children and a school environment is a good place to also imbibe that culture. Fruit juices and drinks are a major cause of tooth decay.
- Healthy snacks are important to children, as they provide good nutrition as well as supporting healthy eating habits in later years. It also helps to prevent some sicknesses like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and much more.
- Children love fruits because they are naturally sweet. We make it more interesting by cutting them into slices, circles, wedges, cubes or sticks. Same goes for vegetables like carrots which when soft cooked can be cut in sticks for younger children. Fruits and Vegetables are packed filled with important nutrients for children, like Vitamin A & C, as well as fibre.
Availability & Ease
- The menus are designed to be made with easily available or sourced ingredients in Nigeria.
- All the meals in the plan can be easily prepared as they are mainly everyday Nigerian meals, some with a little twist.
- The meal plan contains two menus each. A general menu that will suit all children from 1 year and above and a menu plan for babies from 6+ months who are being introduced to solid food. The baby meals consists more of purees and lumpy meals for 8 months and above.
- Some children react to certain foods but most Nigerian foods do not contain allergens. Most allergens are found in milk, egg, peanuts, cheese and soya; alternatives can be provided for a child that is allergic to any food or ingredient.
- Parents are advised to inform us about their children’s food allergies. Our trained carers also keep close eye especially when feeding babies to detect any reaction from feeding a particular meal.
As a parent, you have a lot of influence on your child. He or she will follow your example, so it’s important for you to be a good role model when it comes to making healthy choices. Even small changes in your family’s eating habits and physical activity can have a big impact on your child’s health.
Eat Healthy. Stay Healthy.