Healthy Eating for Children
Growing up is hard work! Not only do children need to eat to fuel all the mischief they get up to during the day, they also need food to grow. Ensuring children eat a well-balanced diet is very important for a child's mental and physical development.
A healthy diet combines foods from each and all of the five food groups in the proportions shown on the eatwell plate (see right). From the age of five, children should be eating the same foods as the rest of the family. Try to ensure your child gets the balance of the 5 food groups but don't worry if not every meal is perfectly balanced as it should balance out over time. Click here to find out more...
Research shows that we need to particularly look out for salt and saturated fat in our children's food and to keep encouraging the 5-a-day message. For this reason, all Juniors Pantry dishes have at least one portion of vegetables and do not contribute high amounts of salt or saturated fat to their diets.
Convenience doesn't have to mean unhealthy!
As a mother myself I know how busy life can be juggling work and family life and it's not always possible to cook from scratch and be inventive every night! Junior's Pantry dishes are made just like you would at home, using basic ingredients and cooking techniques to give your children a wholesome, tasty and convenient meal.
Each Junior's Pantry meal is balanced to provide a source of protein, energy from starchy carbohydrates and the right type of fats and at least one serving of vegetables to provide those essential vitamins. All delivered without the addition of salt during cooking and using fats like olive and sunflower oil to keep saturated fat levels in check.
Healthy doesn't have to mean 'boring' or 'tasteless'!
While nutrition is important, an untouched meal by definition is not nutritious. For that reason, healthy also needs to be tasty. The Junior's Pantry range has some really exciting recipes for children - not just the everyday classics, but something a little bit different and tasty for your children to enjoy. We have included interesting fish and lentil dishes to help your children develop a taste for a wider variety of nutritious foods. As different foods provide different nutrients, variety helps ensure they get the full range of nutrients they need.
Tips for encouraging your child into healthy eating practices
- 1. Prepare and eat as many meals at home as a family whenever possible. Get the children involved and talk to them about the healthy choices you make and why.
- 2. Give children as many different foods and dishes as possible when they are under 3 years of age. Follow on with giving a great variety of tastes as often as possible.
- 3. The amount of food a child needs can vary depending on age, gender and how much activity they do. To help with portioning, use child-sized plates and give them less to start with. Allow children to help themselves to seconds and to tell you when they are full. Never force a child to eat or to clean their plate.
- 4. Don't use food as a reward or threat. This creates 'battles' and unhealthy relationships with food.
- 5. Make sure your child drinks plenty of water every day. Offer drinks at meals and snack times and more in hot weather. These can include water, milk and fruit juice but only give them water between meals.
- 6. Adults are important role models. Make sure you eat and behave how you want them to at mealtimes e.g. do not have the television on at meal times.
- 7. Remember that children get enough salt naturally from foods. Keeping added salt out of food helps to ensure they don't develop a taste for salty foods which means they are less likely to eat too much salt as an adult.
- 8. Be prepared for when hunger strikes! Make a habit of carrying healthy snacks with you when you are out and about.
- 9. Make time for breakfast. Children especially need the energy and nutrients to be at their best at school. Choose cereals that do not have added salt or sugar and vary breakfasts. Why not try a boiled egg with fingers of wholemeal toast for a change?
- 10. Encourage your children to be physically active-lead by example!
If you have any queries about our dishes or children's nutrition please contact us at email@example.com