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Healthy Eating for Active Kids

By Funch Dietician Caryn Kave

Funch - Health Eating for Active KidsToday’s kids are super busy. Between school, play and a range of after school activities or care there are plenty of demands on our kids attention and energy. The best way to equip your kids for their busy day is to ensure they get enough sleep and give them lots of fantastically healthy food.

Food is the essential fuel to get kids through the day. What food they eat will have a direct effect on how efficiently kids can convert their food to useful brain and body fuel!

If the food you choose is highly processed, high in sugar or high in salt this could achieve a short-term ‘food high’, but this will pass quickly and the after-effects are the kids are hungrier, have less energy and find it harder to concentrate. On the contrary, if you choose healthy, natural products with minimal processing, lots of wholegrains and healthy fats then your kids will stay full longer, have more energy and have much better levels of concentration.

4 Top Tips For Healthy Eating:
  1.     Eat enough food from each of the food groups
  2.     Eat seasonally and choose a variety of foods within a group from day to day
  3.     Eat plenty of plant food (bread, cereal, rice, pasta, noodles, vegetables, legumes and fruit); moderate amounts of animal foods
        (milk, yoghurt, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, eggs) and small amounts of extra foods, margarine and oils
  4.     Drink plenty of water
Great nutrition is like great fuel, it supports your kids health now plus helps with their ongoing growth and development. The best way to fuel your kids for busy days is by getting them to eat regular, energy efficient food.

The new NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) guidelines to healthy eating have just been released and they confirm the need for children to eat foods from the 5 food groups every day in the proportions that we see below
 

 

Serves per day

Children's Age

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Dairy

ProteinMeat, fish, eggs, nuts

Extra food

4-7 years

3-4

4

2

3

½ - 1

1-2

8-11 years

4-6

4-5

1-2

3

1-1 ½ 

1-2

12-18 years

4-7

5-9

3-4

3-5

1-2

1-3

 Source: The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, Australian Government

 

How To?

If time, cost and motivation are causing you to struggle with maintaining the best diet possible for  your kids take it one step at a time. Use what resource’s you have available to you. A good first step is to minimise the amount of processed, packaged foods your children eat, as they are typically high in fat, sugar, salt and low in long lasting energy.