Healthy Food for Kids
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
What is healthy food for kids?
At Dragonfly's Early Learning we have chef prepared foods along with fresh fruit delivered daily.
We love to see the children eating from the 5 food groups to keep them healthy and well
Healthy food for preschoolers includes a wide variety of fresh foods from the five healthy food groups: vegetables fruit grain foods reduced-fat dairy protein.
Each food group has different nutrients, which your child’s body needs to grow and work properly. That’s why we need to eat a range of foods from across all five food groups.
Fruit and Vegetables Fruit and vegetables give your child energy, vitamins, anti-oxidants, fibre and water. They help protect your child against diseases later in life, including diseases like heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Encourage your child to choose fruit and vegetables at every meal and for snacks. This includes fruit and vegetables of different colours, textures and tastes, both fresh and cooked. Wash fruit to remove dirt or chemicals, and leave the skin on, because the skin contains nutrients too. If your child seems to be ‘fussy’ about eating fruit and vegetables, it doesn’t mean they will never like them.
Did you know that if your child sees you eating a wide range of vegetables and fruit, they more likely to try them too?
This is actually what occurs at Dragonfly's Early Learning. The Children see their Kindy friends enjoying the chef prepared foods that are delivered daily that they would perhaps normally not eat, and begin to "try" different foods because their friends are.
Grain Foods Grain foods include bread, pasta, noodles, breakfast cereals, couscous, rice, corn, quinoa, polenta, oats and barley. These foods give your child the energy he needs to grow, develop and learn. Grain foods with a low glycaemic index, like wholegrain pasta and breads, will give your child longer-lasting energy and keep them feeling fuller for longer.
Milk and other Dairy Foods Key dairy foods are milk, cheese and yoghurt. These foods are high in protein and calcium. Try to offer your child different kinds of dairy each day – for example, drinks of milk, cheese slices or bowls of yoghurt. Once your child is two years old, they can start having reduced-fat dairy products.
Protein Protein-rich foods include lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu and nuts. These foods are important for your child’s growth and muscle development. These foods also contain other useful vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Iron and omega-3 fatty acids from red meat and oily fish are particularly important for your child’s brain development and learning.
Healthy Drinks: Water Water is the healthiest drink for children. It’s also the cheapest.
In some areas, tap water is fortified with fluoride for strong teeth.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid Your child should avoid ‘sometimes’ foods. These foods include fast food and junk food like hot chips, potato chips, dim sims, pies, burgers and takeaway pizza. They also include cakes, chocolate, lollies, biscuits, doughnuts and pastries.
These foods are high in salt, saturated fat and sugar, and low in fibre and nutrients. Eating too much of these foods can increase the risk of childhood obesity and conditions like type-2 diabetes.
Your child should also avoid sweet drinks like fruit juice, cordials, sports drinks, flavoured waters, soft drinks and flavoured milks. Sweet drinks are high in sugar and low in nutrients. They can cause weight gain, obesity and tooth decay. These drinks fill your child up and can make her less hungry for healthy meals. And if children start on these drinks when they’re young, it can kick off an unhealthy lifelong habit.
Foods and drinks with caffeine aren’t recommended for children, because caffeine stops the body from absorbing calcium well. Caffeine is also a stimulant, which means it gives children artificial energy. These foods and drinks include coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate.
Healthy Alternatives for Snacks and Desserts It’s fine to offer your child snacks, but try to make sure they’re healthy – for example, thinly sliced carrot with dips like hummus, guacamole or tzatziki. The same goes for dessert at the end of a meal. Sliced fruit or yoghurt is the healthiest option. If you want to serve something special, try homemade banana bread. Save the seriously sweet stuff, like cakes and chocolate, for special occasions like birthdays.
To learn more about our Chef prepared foods and our programme please click on: