Nutrition for Children

Nutrition for Children

Active, growing children require good nutrition to build healthy bodies and to help them be the best they can be. Many attitudes towards food are shaped during early school years, forming the basis for future eating habits. As parents we can help our children build healthy foundations by encouraging a love of good food and good nutrition throughout these years.

Growing bodies

Children are constantly growing. As well as providing enough fuel for day to day activities, a child needs nutritious foods to grow and develop normally.

A healthy eating pattern

An eating pattern that includes a variety of foods from across the food groups will provide children with the range of nutrients and fuel they need. This means:

  • Eating plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
  • Eating plenty of cereals (preferably wholegrain), including bread, rice, pasta, and noodles
  • Including lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives
  • Including milk, yogurt and cheese (reduced-fat varieties are not suitable for children under 2 years)

While the occasional ‘extra’ foods such as lollies, chips and take away foods are ok, if eaten too often they may result in poor intake of nourishing foods and an increased risk of becoming overweight, as well as an increased risk of tooth decay.

To be their best, children also need to be well hydrated. Children should be encouraged to drink water. Try to limit sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, cordials and fruit juice. If consumed in large amounts they can contribute to issues such as excess weight gain and tooth decay. As an alternative, a glass of milk is a nutritious drink that will contribute to the recommended three serves of dairy a day to make sure they get the calcium their growing bones need.

The content for this article is originally from Nutrition Australia.