How do I get my child to eat healthily?
A healthy, balanced diet will provide your kindergarten child with all the vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy growth. But it's not always easy to stick to it. Do not worry - most children will eventually have a phase where they mess up everything and even spurn the most delicious meal.
Keep calm and offer your child healthy food, but let it decide for yourself how much and what it wants to eat. Trust that your child knows better than you when it is full.
Keep regular meal times and snacks in mind, taking into account the time for your nursery child's afternoon nap. Offer three main meals and two or three small, healthy snacks. For example:
- Vegetable sticks or wholemeal bread sticks with hummus (oriental dish made from pureed chickpeas)
- muesli with milk
- Cocktail tomatoes with cheese cubes
- Yogurt with berries or fruit carving
- Fruit Milk Mix
- a small full-grain wholemeal bread with cheese
- fresh fruit
Turn your meals into something interesting that your child feels comfortable with. Serve as a main meal always a hearty and a sweet course. This gives your child two ways to consume nutrients and increase the variety of foods that you can choose balanced and healthy.
Healthy desserts are a valuable part of the meal. If necessary, offer one and do not use it as a reward for eating the main course. Healthy desserts are e.g. Fruit salad with yoghurt / quark, fruit biscuits with vanilla sauce, wholegrain milk rice with steamed fruits or a scoop of ice cream from berries or other fruits.
Dessert can be just a piece of fruit. Muffins or other biscuits from the bakery should rarely be offered as a dessert, because they usually contain a lot of fat and sugar. Better bake yourself and freeze baked goods in portions, because then you have control over the amount of sugar. In addition, home baking tastes a lot better - you'll see, if your child was allowed to help with baking, they will even happier like the muffins.
Beware of products that are specifically designed for children (such as yogurts, drinks, or smoothies). These are also usually very sugary.
Eat with your child as often as possible and eat what your child gets. Trying to get to know children brings new food, but often they only trust what they see others eat. Remember that you are his role model and encourage it with positive comments such as "Hmm, yummy," or "Hmm, I like those best". Just do not overdo it - children are very smart and see through quickly, if you pretend them!
Children of kindergarten age have different preferences regarding the taste and consistency of food. Some love it when the food floats in the sauce, others like it dry. Some kids want everything to be on the plate separately. Many kindergartners do not like solid meat or foods that are difficult to chew.
Respect the preferences of your child, but do not cook a complete extra menu. Offer him the same dishes that everyone else at the table gets, but make sure there is at least one thing your child likes. Over time, the taste changes, so it is important to continue to offer all the food that the rest of the family eats.
Which foods should I offer my kindergarten child?
You should offer food from these four food groups every day:
Starchy foods (carbohydrates) These should be part of every meal and eaten in between as a snack. The carbohydrate-containing foods include cereal, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes and all flour-based foods, such as bread, crackers, yeast particles and pancakes. Pay attention to whole grains. These contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber than the white flour products.
fruit and vegetables Kindergartners sometimes need a bit to get used to a wider selection of fruits and vegetables. Offer fruits and vegetables at each meal so that your child learns that they are part of a normal meal. Fruit usually gets better. Cut it into bite sized pieces to make it easier to eat and always include it in the dessert.
Iron and protein foods You should offer once or twice a day. These include meat, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes. The legumes include kidney beans, chickpeas, hummus (a dish of pureed chickpeas) and lentils. Use tender meat as many kindergartners do not like solid meat. In small children are very popular and also nutritious sausages, meatballs and meatballs. These products should not come on the table every day because they contain a lot of fat. Be sure to pay attention to good quality in these products, i. high lean meat content and low salt content.
Children who are vegetarian or who do not like meat should have dairy products, legumes, eggs, nuts or beans two to three times a day to get enough iron. A vegan diet is not suitable for children.
Milk, cheese and yoghurt These foods should be offered about three times a day. Dairy products provide much calcium for bone growth but contain very little iron. Kindergartners need less milk than babies and should not drink them gallons. Give your child about 120 ml of milk as a drink in a cup. Overall, your child should not drink more than 350 ml of milk per day. Larger quantities of milk deplete the appetite for other foods, especially those containing more iron. Instead of milk, it can also be cheese and yogurt!
Children over the age of two can drink whole milk, but even partially skimmed milk is perfectly fine at this age, if that is more comfortable for the family. Semi-skimmed milk contains as much protein and calcium as whole milk, but less vitamin A. Skimmed milk should not be consumed by children under the age of five.
If your child is a very bad eater, ask your pediatrician if you should give him a follow-up with added iron.So you can prevent iron deficiency. However, these folks also often contain much starch and sugar. Your doctor may also have alternative suggestions for more iron in your child's diet.
What should my child drink?
During the day, your child should eat six to eight small drinks, one for each meal and every snack. In hot weather, or when it is physically active, it may also need more fluid, otherwise it dehydrates quickly.
It is best to place a glass within easy reach of the child, so that it can take something to drink on its own if it is thirsty.
Try to relieve the child of the vial and hand drinks, including milk, only out of cups and cups. By sucking drinks other than water from the bottle, this slows down the drinking process and increases the period of exposure of the teeth to dangerous sugars. This increases the risk that the enamel is attacked and caries arises.
Between meals, water and unsweetened teas are the healthiest. Fruit juices, diluted with water, should only be served with meals, because the acid they contain attacks the teeth when they are consumed between meals or several times a day. Sugar and acidic fruit drinks also damage teeth when consumed frequently between meals. Give such drinks only diluted and only with meals.
Which foods should I limit?
Foods that contain a lot of fat and sugar, Give young children extra energy, but also empty calories. These include butter, margarine, chips, baked goods, cakes, biscuits, chocolate and ice cream. Only offer them in small quantities. Cakes or biscuits can make a dessert together with fruit. If your child is not very active because it is e.g. Spend a lot of time watching TV, you should offer such food only in extremely small quantities, because your child could be fat otherwise.
Sweets and chocolate and other sugary foods may be offered at mealtimes as occasional candy, but will damage the teeth if eaten frequently between meals. In addition, they reduce the appetite for healthy food. A tip from BabyCenter expert Iris Lange-Fricke: Fill a box with various little sweets and have your child pick something out of it once a day. So it can also learn to handle the sweets and to divide them.
Salted foods: The German Nutrition Society recommends up to 300 mg sodium for children up to 4 years and 410 mg sodium for children between 4 and 7 years old. The latter corresponds approximately to the amount contained in one gram of table salt. But the calculation with these numbers is difficult, since some foods are naturally salt. These tips help you to avoid excessive use of salt:
- Salted pastries should be eaten occasionally - not more than once a week.
- Do not salt at the table.
- When seasoning, use more herbs and spices and less salt for cooking.
- As far as possible, use ready meals and, if possible, choose the lower-salt version.
Additives and sweeteners are in principle tested and safe. Nevertheless, you should avoid sweeteners in larger quantities (usually found in ready-made drinks) - or do without them altogether. They are especially sweet and can increase the habit of sweet foods. It would be better to dilute a pure fruit juice with water than, for example, to drink a ready-made spritzer with sweetener.
Fiber-containing foods: If you use only whole grains and fiber-rich foods, your child may suffer from flatulence. Instead, offer a mixture of wholemeal and white flour products and increase the whole grain content slowly until the age of five.
Which foods should my child completely avoid?
- Raw or partially cooked eggs and seafood pose the risk of food poisoning. These foods should only be consumed thoroughly cooked.
- Large fish with a life expectancy of many years, such as shark, swordfish or marlin, may contain high levels of mercury, and should therefore not be eaten by children at all.
- Whole nuts should not be given to children under five because of suffocation.
- Black tea and coffee are also not a good choice because they impede iron absorption. Apart from that, a kindergarten child does not need a caffeinated drink.
- Carbonated drinks can damage the teeth.
Do young children need additional vitamin supplements?
Usually, a child does not need a vitamin supplement. Vitamin A and D are particularly important as a preventive measure against rickets and to ensure healthy growth. Therefore, pay particular attention in the diet to these vitamins. Vitamin D is also produced when your child is out in the fresh air on a regular basis (30 minutes a day!).