When picking the most suitable food for your preschool children, it is useful to understand the different nutritional requirements depending on the growth stage in which the little one is. What should be the food of preschool children? We will show you!
The relationship between preschool children and food
Children of preschool age, between 3 and 5-6 years old, are usually defined by being very dynamic individuals, both intellectually and physically. Because they have numerous more sources for movement than when they were babies. Furthermore, they are also in a stage of high consumption of knowledge, in which improvement in communication skills is critical.
On the other hand, during these years, children go through a stage in which their interest in new foods reduced, increasing the denial of incorporating these foods into their diet and, even, being ready to deny some that earlier established.
Although this denial of food is normally a cause of stress in parents. In typical conditions in which the kid is healthy and offered a balanced diet. The stages normally pass without having any result on their health or their growth. It is not a dilemma of lack of appetite, but a key part in the difficulties of its natural maturation process.
It is useful to continue with normal meals without too much variation. Including both new foods and others already acknowledged in the child’s dishes daily. Permitting him to become intimate with any of the new choices without forcing and, of course, considering his signs of satiety.
Besides, at this age, the child must have enough autonomy to eat alone, managing the cutlery with skill. As his psychomotor development allows it. But, the most significant thing is that the meal is a family moment in which parents can set an example and allow their kids to see and follow both their chewing movements and the use of cutlery, without ignoring that the example of the Parents is key to accepting new foods.
Healthy Eating Guidelines for Preschool Children
An average of 5 or 6 meals a day should be set, depending on the plans and the age of the child. Bring them with water as the only and main drink. In general, these meals should be spaced about 3 hours. Apart, with appropriate weight on two more caloric snacks, lunch and dinner, but without leaping any.
Kids of this age need between 1250 and 1500 kcal per day. Depending on their age and the kind of physical activity they do. This figure is very common because the baseline requirements of each child should be calculated separately, taking into account not only their age and gender but also their weight and height. Normally you can add 200-400 kcal to these basal needs. Depending on the strength of physical activity that the child does in her daily life.
The division of macronutrients in the diet of the preschool child does not normally differ too much from that of older children, with 55-60% of the energy emanating from carbohydrates without passing 10% of heat from simple sugars, 25- 30% of energy from fat, making sure that the vast majority are mono and polyunsaturated fats (not exceeding 10% saturated fats) and a protein intake of between 15 and 20% of the total energy intake.
The breakfast is a must, and should, therefore, be avoided cookies and sugary cereals, as well as popular soluble cocoa. These foods hold excessive quantities of simple sugars and should be replaced with more natural versions. Pure soluble cocoa is the best choice, as well as whole grains or oatmeal, and of course, toast.
The dairy is supreme and should be taken in at least two portions. Due to its addition of micronutrients essential for growth, we must add dairy (or other foods rich in calcium and vitamin D) to the kid’s diet. Milk, cheese, and yogurts can be given both for breakfast, lunch, or a luncheon, followed by fruit or nuts to complement the supply of nutrients.
The lunch and dinner do not have to consist of three courses, but preferably in various portions of different foods for nutritious give a significant variety. Also, foods with high nutrient density should be accepted because, at these ages, children still eat small quantities. Therefore we ensure that the contribution of micronutrients is not compromised. Legumes, meat, nuts, and fish or egg, for example, are nutrient-dense foods.
To ensure adequate fruit consumption, it is sufficient to offer it between main meals and not as a dessert. We suggest preferably in whole portions rather than squeezed.
Menu for children between 3 and 6 years old:
And now comes the most difficult. Taking into account everything we’ve told you, what do I put on the table every day? What do I prepare for the child? Without going into quantities, here we have designed some ideas for ‘oriented menus’.
You can read more articles similar to Preschool Children food, in the Kids Food category at Kidsrush.com