Parents are told time and time again that children need to consume the right amounts of dairy, fruits, grains, protein, and vegetables, as a balanced diet full of nutrients and vitamins is essential for children’s healthy development. But do you know exactly why each of the food groups is so important?
Our team at The Brook was inspired by children’s health month and nutrition week, as well as all the inquisitive 4 and 5-year-olds asking us a gazillion questions about every ingredient at meal times, and gathered some information about each of the 5 food groups. Read on and get your answers ready for the next time your little one asks you why they need to eat their greens.
Dairy is a superfood for growing little bones and teeth, as it is an excellent source of calcium. However, something that may come as a surprise is that it’s also good for the heart, blood pressure, and weight management! This is because milk, cheese, and yoghurt are packed full of important nutrients like calcium, protein, and healthy fats – all of which provide some pretty significant health benefits.
There are plenty of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and nutrients in fruit to help maintain a healthy growing body. Fruit would definitely be one of the easiest food groups to get your child to eat, as it is full of colour and flavour. Berries, bananas, oranges, grapes, watermelon, mango, kiwi fruit, mandarins… the list of kid-friendly flavours just keeps going!
We recommend fresh fruits, but sometimes it can be difficult to get, so frozen fruits are great for smoothies, and canned fruit in 100% fruit juice is not too bad a choice either. We recommend staying away from store-bought juice though, as it is full of added sugar.
As much as possible, try to stay away from refined grains, and always go for wholegrain and/or high fibre options. Whole grains contain a lot of fibre, help with digestion, are a good source of B vitamin, deliver essential minerals, and release energy slower than refined grains, meaning little tummies will be full for longer.
This food group (lean meats, including poultry and fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and seeds) offers a whole bunch of health benefits as it is full of iodine, iron, zinc, vitamins, especially B12, and essential fatty acids (hello, omega 3!). With so much variety in this high protein food group, dinner time is made easy even for the least creative of cooks.
Another positive is that, apart from the meat, protein options are cost efficient and extremely versatile.
It’s no secret that vegetables should be part of every meal you have. They provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and plenty of nutrients such as potassium, and vitamins A, E, and C. Consuming enough vegetables also has the ability to decrease obesity risk and improve school performance. The wonders a healthy diet can do!
Here at The Brook we take nutrition seriously. Our daily fee includes 3 meals which are prepared by our on-site chef and cook. We ensure children enjoy a healthy diet packed full of nutrients and that is suitable for all dietary requirements.
To learn more about our kitchen and meals, click here.
Is your child a fussy eater? See our fun, delicious, yet healthy recipes that you might want to try, click here.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our child care services.