Put a spring in their step
With the summer evenings coming in fast, there’s even more time for your child to be playing outside in the park or the garden, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. It’s well known that a healthy child is an active child. Exercise is good for us all; its benefits include:1
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing the risk of diabetes & hypertension
- Keeping them social
Children are more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle if it’s made fun for them and they enjoy it. As a general rule a child should have the following in their daily diet:2
- A least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables
- Meals based on starchy foods, choosing wholegrains where possible
- Some milk and dairy products
- Foods that are good sources of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and lentils
We’ve outlined some tips on how to provide some of the nutrients that your child needs below.
1. Stick with starchy foods:3
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy; they are digested and used quickly and effectively. The liver and muscles store this energy in the form of glucose. Glucose fuels the brain and muscles throughout the day.
2. Be sure to include vitamin B6:4
Vitamin B6 allows the body to release energy from foods, which helps to fuel your kids as they go about their day. It also helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue, meaning they can stay active and have fun for longer.
Vitamin B6 is found in a wide variety of foods, including pork, poultry, fish, wholegrain cereals, eggs, vegetables, soya beans, peanuts, milk and potatoes.
3. Provide plenty of protein:5
Protein helps to grow, repair and maintain the cells and tissues in our bodies. It also supports your child’s general health and physical activity. Protein is crucial because it provides some amino acids (the building block of proteins) that the body cannot make by itself.
You can get protein from a variety of sources:
- Animal sources – meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yoghurt and supplements such as PaediaSure Shake
- Plant sources – soy, tofu, quinoa, beans and lentils
When picking your protein sources, it’s important to try and pick sources low in saturated fats, such as lean meats like chicken or turkey
4. Don’t flake on fats:6
It might surprise some people, but fat is an essential nutrient to include in your child’s diet, as it is a rich source of energy. Consuming too much fat should be avoided, because it can lead to excess energy intake which can result in weight gain over time. It’s important to follow healthy eating guidelines, such as the Eatwell Guide. You can find the eat well guide and other information here.
When choosing your child’s sources of fat, try and pick foods containing unsaturated fat. Good sources of these fats are olive oil, rapeseed and sunflower oils, avocados, nuts and seeds.
5. Offer Omega-3:3,6
Essential fatty acids cannot be made in the body, so they have to be eaten. Essential fatty acids are needed for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general wellbeing. Opt for omega-3 fatty acids, that are found in oily fish and plant sources:
- Oily fish – salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, kippers and pilchards
- Plant sources – linseed (flaxseed), soya beans, pumpkin seeds and their oils.
It’s important for everyone to have a healthy balanced diet; some of us can miss out on essential vitamins and minerals throughout the day, week or month. If you think this could be the case for your child, PaediaSure Shake can help. It is a complete and balanced shake that provides 26 different vitamins and minerals (including the ones listed above). It can help to fill gaps in children’s diet, supporting them and their active lifestyle as they grow and develop.
- British Nutrition Foundation, 2016: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/publications/briefingpapers/nutrition-health-schoolchildren.html Last accessed 6th July 2017.
- NHS Choices, 2015: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/childhealth6-15/Pages/Get-children-involved-inbeing-healthy.aspx Last Accessed 6th July 2017
- BBC Good Food, 2016: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower Last accessed 6th July 2017
- NHS Choices, 2017: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Vitamin-B.aspx Last Accessed 6th July 2017
- British Nutrition Foundation, 2016: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/an-active-lifestyle/eating-for-sport-and-exercise.html?limit=1&start=2 Last accessed 6th July 2017
- British Nutrition Foundation, 2016: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/an-active-lifestyle/eating-for-sport-and-exercise.html?limit=1&start=3 Last accessed 6th July 2017