SCHOOL AGE NUTRITION

Nutrition is important at every stage of life. Nutritional needs differ at every age, so it would be more accurate to consider the nutrition of infancy, childhood, school age children and adolescents separately. Proper eating habits are shaped and developed by an individual’s family habits during childhood. Children grow up as a reflection of their parents, so we should and should adopt a healthy, adequate and balanced diet as an example to children. Keeping physical and mental performance at the highest level throughout the day is possible by regularly consuming snacks and main meals. Therefore, meals should not be skipped. It is most appropriate to take the foods to be consumed daily in 3 main meals and 2 snacks.

In order for children to have a healthy diet, they should consume the foods in the four food groups in sufficient quantities and in a balanced way.
Milk, yoghurt, ayran in the dairy group; Instead of meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, vegetable and fruit group, and refined grain group in the meat group, it should be paid attention to consume foods such as whole grain, high-fiber breads, bulgur, whole wheat pasta in sufficient quantities at meals.

School-age children should take calcium, which is necessary for the development of bone and dental health, especially from proteins of animal origin. In addition, consumption of milk and dairy products is very important for a strong immune system, development of nerve and muscle functions, blood clotting and the activity of enzymes that convert nutrients into energy. The amount of calcium that children aged 6-10 should take daily is approximately 1000 mg.
1 cup of milk = 240mg
1 cup of yogurt = 180 mg
30 gr feta cheese (1 matchbox)=70mg
Contains 30 gr cheddar cheese (1 matchbox)=230mg calcium. For this reason, children in this age group consume a portion of these measures during the day, meeting a large part of their calcium needs.
Meat group is your important food group for maintaining a healthy body structure and maintaining vital functions flawlessly. In particular, it provides the formation and protection of muscle tissue in children. This group includes foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes. School-age children should consume at least 3-4 servings of these foods, that is, an average of 100 g of meat or chicken or fish and 1 egg per day. Eggs are the best source of protein and also have a good iron and calcium mineral content. If there is no such thing as an allergy, consuming eggs every day or every other day will be healthy for this age group.

Another group is bread and bread substitute cereal group. Foods in this group are the body’s best sources of energy. They are foods rich in fiber and B vitamins. It is necessary to consume during the day without exceeding the energy need.

We meet the necessary vitamins, minerals and fiber needs for our body from vegetables and fruits. Consumption of seasonal fruits in snacks in the daily diet will strengthen the immune system of children and prevent them from getting sick, since they are a storehouse of vitamins. Although not constantly, freshly squeezed fruit juices can be consumed occasionally in cases where fruit cannot be eaten. But if you constantly give the juice instead of the fruit itself, this may trigger the possibility of insulin resistance in children over time, as this will raise blood sugar quickly. Apart from this, it is true that our children should not consume the ready-made fruit juices sold in the market because they are not natural and have high sugar rates.

In addition to fresh fruits, dried fruits (dried apricots, dried figs, raisins, prunes, blueberries, etc.) meet the sweet needs of school-age children as well as their energizing feature. In this way, the tendency of children who are fond of foods containing simple sugars such as chocolate and ice cream decreases. In addition, dried fruits contain vitamins, minerals (iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) and plenty of fiber that support the immune system. Thanks to the iron they contain, they also help in the production of hemoglobin. Attention should be paid to the quantities only for the consumption of children. These dried fruits can be consumed with nuts. But both dried fruits and nuts should be consumed little by little as they will cause weight gain when consumed excessively. It will be healthy to consume a different type of nuts with high nutritional value such as hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts every day.

Water consumption should not be neglected during the day, on average, they should consume 2-2.5 liters (ie 6-8 glasses of water per day).

Studies have shown that children who have a fun breakfast every day have improved energy and mood, higher scores on tests and exams, less absenteeism, and they also have fewer problems with their weight. For this reason, it is very important for children to have a breakfast consisting of healthy choices on the way to school every day. Our breakfast choices should definitely consist of healthy foods such as cheese, milk, eggs and whole wheat bread, not foods high in carbohydrates and fats such as pastries and bagels.

It should be ensured that children’s diets do not contain additives, unnatural ready-made foods and fast foods (hamburger, pizza, etc.). Try to eat this type of food by making it yourself at home, not too often. In addition to nutrition, children should definitely be involved in sports in terms of healthy body development.

It is necessary to know well that eating habits for a healthy and fit life begin in childhood. As I said at the beginning of my article, children grow up as a reflection of their parents, so we should and should adopt a healthy, adequate and balanced diet as an example to children.

Suggestions for Families for Children Choosing Meals
1. Focus on a complete eating plan rather than specific foods.
2. Eat family meals regularly.
3. Pay more attention to cooking at home
4. Involve your children to help with making meals or snacks.
5. Choose healthy snacks instead of empty calorie snacks.
6. Limit portion sizes.
7. Limit sugar in your child’s diet.
8. Offer a new food when your child is really hungry and resting.
9. Introduce one type of new food at a time.
10. Make it fun; For example, you can make it like a game or you can cut it in different ways and present it.
11. Serve new foods with a favorite food to increase acceptance.
12. Taste a different kind of food that you will give your child first. will imitate you.
13. Let your child help you prepare the meals.
14. Limit sugary drinks.
15. Limit snacks to 2 snacks a day.

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