[:es]Healthy eating for children according to their age[:]
[:es]Childhood is one of the most important stages of our development, and providing a healthy diet for children and adolescents is important for everything to go well. How to achieve this? With a varied and balanced diet, adapted to the needs of the child in each of its stages.
Healthy eating for children from the first months
The months of gestation and the first two years are known as the ‘1000 critical days of life’. In fact, this is when the basic development of the child takes place, and nutrition is crucial. So much so that in the poorest countries, infant mortality is a scourge, largely due to malnutrition.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. And it encourages mothers to maintain it, along with complementary feeding, up to two years or more. But putting this into practice is not always easy, nor is it within the reach of all women.
In any case, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics reminds us that dairy products are basic in a healthy diet for children up to 3 years of age. And it recommends maintaining a dose of 500 ml of milk per day. Or combine it with the consumption of fermented cheese or yogurts.
You can also read: Things you should know about newborns
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Healthy eating for preschool children
Promoting healthy eating for children from 3 to 6 years of age is a way to ensure proper growth and development. But also to prevent diseases in the short and long term. And to help them acquire healthy habits.
From the age of 3 or 4, children can eat anything. But the Spanish Association of Pediatrics points out that this does not imply that they should eat like a miniature adult, simply reducing the quantities. In fact, a healthy diet for children should take into account that their nutritional needs are different from ours.
The AEP recommends a varied and balanced diet divided into 4 or 5 meals a day. And for us to be able to talk about a healthy diet for children of this age, it points out that a little more than 50% should be carbohydrates. Mostly complex carbohydrates such as legumes, cereals, tubers and fruits. In addition, between 10 and 15% of the diet should be high quality proteins, more than half of animal origin. And between 30 and 35% fats. Above all, monounsaturated fats, such as those from olive oil and nuts.
In total, we are talking about a caloric intake of 1,300 to 1,500 kcal/day, at 3 years of age, depending on their physical activity. And about 1,800 kcal/day (90 kcal/kg/day) from 4 to 6 years of age. How to distribute them? According to the AEP, 25% at breakfast, 30% at lunch, 15% at snack and another 30% at dinner.
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Healthy eating for primary school children
Between the ages of 6 and 10, children face greater intellectual effort, stricter school schedules, more sports and social life. But coffee, tea or other exciting drinks are not recommended for children under 12 years of age. All this effort must be compensated with an adequate nutritional intake.
A healthy diet for school-age children starts with a good breakfast. So we must plan the start of the day so that they can have a complete and unhurried breakfast. This will allow to lighten the lunch. We should avoid salt abuse, avoid fried foods and do not skimp on fruits and vegetables, fresh products that many Spanish families give up in order not to make the shopping basket more expensive. As a result, childhood obesity is present here in more than 54% of impoverished families.
In addition, we should not underestimate the importance of the snack, which should provide 15% of the caloric intake of the day. It should be a complete meal, but no longer than 30 minutes. The Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommends betting on variety. Combine dairy products, cereals, bread, fruit… and do not always limit it to bread with chocolate.
Remember that a varied diet, well distributed throughout the day and adapted to their needs, is the key to a healthy diet for children. And this is fundamental for their overall development. Taking care of what they eat is taking care of their present and watching over their future.
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