What your children eat, how much they eat, and when they eat have great importance for most of the parents. It is vital to have your child have healthy eating habits in order to have a healthy body and psychology in all his/her life. But, childhood is based on some principles like adults. It is mostly difficult to have your child to eat what you want. They mostly want to take their own decision while eating. And, unfortunately, although you are trying to take the control at home in some way, it is not possible to control what your child eat at school. Thus, it is important to show your child how the healthy food profit to them and how the unhealthy snacks affect them.
The nutrition specialists and dieticians say that 55 to 60 percent of the daily energy needs in children are derived from carbohydrates, 15 to 20 percent from proteins and 30 percent from oils. The amount of daily energy that children spend varies according to their physical activity. Especially during the summer period, the amount of calories consumed by children can increase significantly. For this reason, it is suggested that for the 4-6 year-old group average 1400-1600 kcal / day is taken and for the 9-12 year group it is 1800-2000 kcal energy / day.
Well, how much food do children need to consume? It is important to choose the right carbohydrate. It is also necessary to make the right choices among carbohydrate-containing products which meet about 50 percent of children’s daily energy. This needs to be met by complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain, oatmeal, bulgur, legumes, fruits and vegetables, made entirely of whole wheat or whole rye, instead of simple carbohydrates like white undersea foods, white sugar, syrupy foods.
30% of the daily energy must be taken from useful fats. Approximately 30 percent of the energy, that children receive daily, needs to be provided from useful fats. Unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 provide eye and brain development in children, strengthening the immune system and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. For this reason, fish, walnuts, nuts and almonds, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and all green leafy vegetables should be consumed regularly.
Protein is essential for healthy growth of the children. Proteins have also of great importance for the growth and development of children. For this reason, it is necessary for children to consume 2-3 portions of meat, fish, white meat, milk and dairy products per day.
Vitamin and minerals are indispensable for the children. Vitamins and minerals support growth and development throughout childhood. Calcium found in milk and dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables is an effective mineral especially for young children. The amount of calcium, which is extremely important to have strong bones and dental health, can be well below the recommended daily intake as children get closer to adolescence. It is enough to consume 500 ml of milk or yogurt per day, 1-2 matchbox cheese and 2 portions of vegetables in order to meet the average calcium requirement.
- Iron is very important for the growth of the children. Iron is responsible for the transport of oxygen, a mineral required for the expansion of blood volume during the rapid growth period. However, anemia because of the iron deficiency can cause problems for some children. Especially girls who enter adolescence need extra iron for the blood they lose during the menstruation period. Breads and cereals enriched with red meat, fish, white meat and deer, dry fruits such as raisins, molasses, eggs, etc. are among the best sources of iron.