How much do our little ones really need to eat?!

by Danielle on May 31, 2018

It is in our nature to want to feed our children, as their carers, we want to make sure they are healthy and happy and have full little tummies! But…. How much is too much? Unfortunately, we tend to lean towards too many serves of things like fruits and convenience/treat foods and not enough vegetables or grain foods. So why is it important to make sure they are getting foods from all of the 5 foods groups? Not only does variety set them up to be thriving and food loving children but it helps make sure they are meeting all of their nutrient levels. Here’s what is great about the 5 food groups:

 

Bread & cereals

  • Provides:
    • Energy (kilojoules/calories)
    • Fibre
    • Protein
    • Carbohydrate
    • Vitamins and minerals e.g. thiamin, folate, iodine, magnesium, zinc, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin E
    • Examples include bread, rolls, muffins, crackers, rice, pasta, noodles and breakfast cereals.

 

Fruit

  • Provides:
    • Energy (kilojoules/calories)
    • Dietary fibre
    • Carbohydrate
    • Vitamins and minerals e.g. Vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene and potassium
    • Examples include fresh fruit, fruit salad, tinned fruit, dried fruit and fruit juice.

 

Vegetables and Legumes

  • Provides:
    • Energy (kilojoules/calories)
    • Dietary fibre
    • Carbohydrate (corn, potato, sweet potato)
    • Vitamins and minerals e.g. Vitamin C, folate, magnesium, iron and potassium
    • Examples include cooked vegetables, raw vegetables and salad.

 

Dairy foods

  • Provides:
    • Energy (kilojoules/calories)
    • Protein
    • Carbohydrate
    • Fat
    • Vitamins and minerals e.g. calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc and potassium
    • Examples include milk, cheese, yoghurt and custard.

 

Meat and alternatives

  • Provides:
    • Energy (kilojoules/calories)
    • Protein
    • Long chain omega 3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids
    • Vitamins and minerals e.g. iron, zinc, vitamin B12, niacin and vitamin E (seeds/nuts only)
    • Examples include lean red meat, skinless poultry, fish & seafood, eggs, beans & lentils, nuts and nut butters.

 

Sample Meal Plan Based on Age

4-6 months BF: breast milk or formula

MT: breast milk or formula + 1 tbsp infant cereal

L: breast milk or formula + 1 tbsp mashed or pureed fresh fruit

AT: Breast milk or formula + 1 tbsp well cooked meat mashed/pureed

D: breast milk or formula + 1 tbsp boiled/steamed mashed/pureed vegetables

S: breast milk or formula

9 months BF: 2 tbsp infant cereal + 1 slice toast – breast milk or formula after food

MT: breast milk or formula + 1 tbsp mashed or pureed fresh fruit

L: 2 tbsp mashed or pureed fresh fruit and 1-2 tbsp full fat yogurt – breast milk or formula after food

AT: Breast milk or formula + 1 tbsp well cooked meat mashed/pureed

D: 2 tbsp well-cooked lean meat/chicken/fish mashed/pureed + ½ cup steamed veggies diced or mashed

S: breast milk or formula if needed

12 months BF: 3-4 tbsp infant cereal with full cream milk + 1 slice toast – breast milk or formula after food

MT: piece of fresh fruit

L: sandwich and ½ piece fruit – breast milk or formula after food

AT: yogurt

D: small serve meat, chicken, fish or egg with ½-1 cup vegetables + custard or full cream cow’s milk

S: breast milk or formula if needed

3 years BF: Cereal, toast and milk

MT: fruit and cheese

L: sandwich and veggie sticks

AT: slice of bread with nut spread

D: small serve meat with potato and vegetables + water

S: custard and fruit if needed

MAXIMUM 750ml milk per day – encourage water.

 

As you can see, they don’t need as much food as we do as adults. There is also a good mix of nutrients in these meal suggestions, not encouraging fruit at all meals and making sure they are having a good variety of food groups.

 

Still concerned your little one isn’t eating enough or eating too much? Book in to see one of our paediatric dietitians!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: