Healthy diet & exercise for children
Proper nutrition is the key to the good and smooth functioning of the body. Good eating habits enhance fitness and ensure health from the early years of a child's life.
Childhood and later adolescence are the key developmental milestones of the human body, and during these periods the intake of specific nutrients in specific amounts and proportions from the daily diet will enhance or suppress this process.
The days we live in need proper food handling to ensure complete and proper nutrition.
Thus, the basic rules emphasize the following:
- Small and frequent meals with a variety of foods so that as many nutrients as possible are obtained.
- Emphasize fruits and vegetables for greater absorption of phytochemicals.
- Eat whole grains daily without sugar. Pay attention to the use of breakfast cereals (focus on less sugar and more fiber).
- Consume foods high in fat, sugar and salt in moderation. Play the label game (read the fat, sugar and compare different foods).
- Limit red meat consumption (once a week) and replace it with white meat and fish.
- Consume low-fat milk.
The Nutritional Routine: Time for a family breakfast
Plan your family breakfast now with a proper and complete breakfast consisting of three (3) food groups:
- Dairy or cheese or egg.
- Cereal or bread or toast or breadcrumbs or rusks.
- Fruit or vegetable.
My child does not consume dairy products what should I do?
Is milk the only source of calcium?
Definitely not! Calcium can also be found in plant foods, such as:
Legumes: beans and chickpeas with cereals
Fish eaten on the bone: sardines, shrimp, anchovies, anchovies.
Nuts: almonds - almond milk - almond milk
Sesame seeds (tahini!)
Fruits: dried figs
How much salt?
Make sure children consume as little salt as possible.
5 grams per day, i.e. 1 teaspoon
Hydration: keep your kids cool!
Encourage children to drink water, because they often forget. Make sure they drink only water when they are thirsty and not juices, soft drinks, energy drinks because they contain a lot of sugar (6-10 teaspoons).
The Structure of the Nutritional Plate
Each meal should include food from all three of the following food groups:
Group A: Foods - sources of protein
Groups of protein sources (meat, fish, chicken, cheese, egg, milk).
Group B: Foods - sources of complex carbohydrates
(wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, potatoes)
Group C: Foods - sources of fibre, carbohydrates & antioxidant vitamins
(fruits and vegetables).
Regular physical exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight.
Children aged 5-17 years are recommended to do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Adult parents should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise or a combination of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.
Ensuring adequate movement for your child
Confinement has both positive and negative effects on a child's physiology. Physical and mental balance is altered due to a change in routine. Hyperactive children need proper handling to relieve tension and less mobile children need encouragement for more movement and less computer use.
A good planning of physical activity and eating routine will help the whole family.
Simple tips to boost our children's physical activity and ensure at least 60 minutes of movement daily or twice daily activity of 40 minutes:
Organise with your children's friends on line fitness sessions 3-4 times a week for 45 minutes.
As parents, set a positive example of an active lifestyle with your children through: Walking, running, yoga, pilates mat, pilates, bike, skateboard, rope, volleyball parents and children together.
For children who played organized sports (basketball, soccer, rhythmic, etc.) focus on fitness such as increasing endurance, speed, enhancing strength, agility, and flexibility. Discuss with coaches.
Create activities as a family with active games in the yard, garden (where available) with gardening (even on the balcony plant potted vegetables).
Discover the hidden spots in your neighbourhood. Carve different routes each time.
Be careful with the sports equipment you give your child so that it is correct and age-appropriate.
Does my child need supplements?
Supplements are not necessary if the child is following a balanced diet with a variety of all food groups.
Supplements should only be used in childhood in cases of diagnosed deficiency and always in consultation with the paediatrician.
Improper use of supplements may have a negative impact on children's health and development.