Nutrition and Food Safety for Young Children
Feeding children can sometimes be challenging but proper nutrition is essential to their development.
For the pickiest of eaters, exposure to new foods is key. Children may need to be exposed to an unfamiliar food up to 8 times before they are willing to try it. When introducing a new food, serve it alongside foods the children are already familiar with and like. Maintain a positive attitude and model sampling new foods in front of them. Best practice is to offer no disappointment or praise when a child refuses or tries the food.
Allowing children to choose how much they would like to eat (if at all) is best so it’s important to offer a variety of healthy foods and textures. When possible allow children to serve themselves by offering a buffet or assisting them to pass dishes around the table.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends that toddlers and preschoolers eat the following each day:
Children aged 2-3 years: 4 servings of vegetables and fruit, 3 servings of grain products, 2 servings of milk/milk products and 1 meat product
Children aged 4-8 years: 5 servings of vegetables and fruit, 4 servings of grain products, 2 servings of milk/milk products, and 1 meat product
Note that one serving is considered the typical amount a child of that age will eat in one serving, and is not necessarily a portion size.
In order to achieve these nutritional goals, aim to include all of the 4 food groups at each meal and foods from at least 2 food groups for each snack. This can be as simple as serving raw vegetables with hummus for dipping. Add a glass of milk to add a third food group!
healthier choices include:
– choosing wholegrain for more fiber
– steaming or baking foods instead of frying
– selecting foods that are unsweetened, low in sodium and fat
– choosing at least one dark green and one orange food per day – these options are high in essential vitamins (folate and vitamin A)
For more information on ~feeding children, visit:www.goodbeginnings.ca
~ the NutriStep (Nutrition Screening Tool for Every Preschooler), check out: http://www.nutristep.ca/
Thanks for reading!