When it comes to feeding children, it’s no easy task. From picky eaters to fussy appetites, it’s hard to know what’s right to feed them. For five year olds, it’s important to ensure that they get all the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop. But what are the best foods to feed a five year old?
Healthy Eating Guidelines for 5 Year Olds
The Australian Government recommends that five year olds should eat a wide variety of healthy foods from the five food groups each day. The five food groups are: vegetables, fruit, grains, protein foods, and dairy. It’s important for five year olds to have enough of each food group in order to get the essential nutrients they need.
Eating from the five food groups will provide five year olds with the nutrients they need to develop and grow in a healthy way. Eating a balanced diet will also help them stay at a healthy weight.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a five year old’s diet. They are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Five year olds should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Fruits and vegetables can be served raw or cooked, whichever your child prefers. A great way to ensure they get enough fruits and vegetables is to offer them as snacks. Offer them a few pieces of raw carrot, cucumber, celery or capsicum, or a piece of fresh fruit such as an apple or banana.
Grains such as bread, pasta, rice and cereals are an important part of a five year old’s diet. They provide essential carbohydrates and fibre. Five year olds should eat at least 6 servings of grains each day.
When choosing grains, look for wholegrain varieties. Wholegrains provide more fibre, vitamins and minerals than refined grains. Examples of wholegrain grains include wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice, oats and barley.
Protein foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes and tofu are an important part of a five year old’s diet. They provide essential proteins and vitamins. Five year olds should eat at least two servings of protein foods each day.
Try to opt for lean cuts of meat, such as chicken breast or beef sirloin. Fish is a great source of protein and should be offered at least twice a week. Eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes are also great sources of protein and can be added to meals or snacks.
Dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are an important part of a five year old’s diet. They provide essential calcium and vitamins. Five year olds should eat at least three servings of dairy foods each day.
Look for low-fat varieties of dairy foods such as skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and low-fat cheese. Low-fat dairy foods provide the same essential nutrients but with less fat.
Limit Discretionary Foods
Discretionary foods such as cakes, biscuits, chips and lollies are high in fat, sugar and salt and should be limited. Five year olds should only have these foods occasionally, if at all.
It’s important to ensure that five year olds get all the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop in a healthy way. Eating from the five food groups will provide them with the nutrients they need. Fruits and vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy should all be included in their diet. Limiting discretionary foods is also important.