673.1 - Understand the Principles of a Balanced Diet for Children

673.1 - Understand the principles of a balanced diet for children.

1.1 - Describe current government nutritional guidelines for a balanced diet for children.

The current government nutritional guidelines for a balanced diet for children advise the following:

Bread, cereals and potatoes (Carbohydrates) should be provided at every meal or snack but should only make up about a third of the food served each day.   Although processed potato e.g. waffles, dried, canned / ready prepared pasta in sauce, fried or flavoured rice and sugary breakfast cereals should be avoided due to their high fat / salt / sugar content.   You should choose instead low salt breads and low salt / sugar cereals.

A variety of fruit and vegetables should be provided each day at each meal aiming for 1-2 types of fruit and 2-3 types of veg per day but it is recommended children in full-day care should have the opportunity to try 4-5 types per day.   Although fruit and veg is recommended, it is also advised that you avoid canned vegetables with added salt and sugar, canned fruit in syrup and dried fruit with added sugar and oil.   Dried fruit should also be limited to main meals rather than snacks as the sugars in dried fruit can damage teeth.

Main meals should always contain meat, fish or meat alternatives with a variety of each on offer each week; this also includes ensuring that meat alternatives are varied for vegetarians and that oil rich fish is served regularly.   It is recommended that processed fish products / meat products / vegetarian sausages / burgers that are high in fat and salt are not served regularly and that if served they should be good quality with the meat versions high in meat content.   As with vegetables, canned pulses should have no added salt / sugar and pate, if served should be no more than once per week due to a high vitamin A content.

Milk and milk products should be offered at 2-3 meals and snacks each day with only plain milk offered between meals....