Infant nutrition

Preschool Child Feeding


When choosing the most appropriate diet for our little ones, it is convenient to know the different nutritional needs depending on the stage of growth in which the little one is. What should be the feeding of the preschool child? We will tell you!

Children of preschool age, between 3 and 5-6 years old, are generally characterized by being very active individuals, both physically and intellectually, since they have many more resources for movement than when they were babies, but also are in a stage of great absorption of knowledge, in which the advancement in their communication skills is key.

On the other hand, during these years, children go through a stage in which their interest in new foods is diminished, increasing the rejection of incorporating these foods into their diet and, even, being able to reject some that were already established.

Although this rejection of food is usually a cause of stress in parents, under normal conditions in which the child is healthy and is offered a balanced diet, the stage usually passes without having any consequences for their health or their growth, since it is not a problem of lack of appetite, but a key piece in the ins and outs of its natural maturation process.

It is convenient to continue with the usual meals without too much variation, including both new foods and others already known in the child's dishes on a daily basis, allowing him to become familiar with any of the new options without forcing and, of course, respecting his own satiety signals.

Also, at this age, the child must have sufficient autonomy to eat alone, handling cutlery with dexterity, since his psychomotor development allows it. However, the most important thing is that the meal is a family moment in which the parents can set an example and allow their children to observe and imitate both their chewing movements and the use of cutlery, without forgetting that the example of parents is key to accepting new foods.

An average of 5 or 6 meals a day should be established, depending on the hours and age of the child and accompanied by water as the only and main drink. In general, these meals should be spaced about 3 hours apart, with special emphasis on two more caloric meals, lunch and dinner, but without skipping any.

Children of this age need between 1250 and 1500 kcal per day, depending on their age and the type of physical activity they do. This figure is very general, since the baseline needs of each child should be calculated individually, taking into account not only their age and gender, but also their weight and height. 200-400 kcal is usually added to these basal needs, depending on the intensity of physical activity that the child performs in his daily life.

The distribution of macronutrients in the preschooler diet does not usually differ too much from that of older children, with 55-60% of the energy coming from carbohydrates without exceeding 10% of energy from simple sugars, 25-30% of energy from fat, ensuring that the the vast majority are mono and polyunsaturated fats (not exceeding 10% saturated fats) and a protein intake of between 15 and 20% of the total energy intake.

He breakfast It is essential, and both cookies and sugary cereals should be avoided, as well as the traditional soluble cocoa. These foods contain excessive amounts of simple sugars and should be replaced by other, more natural versions. Pure soluble cocoa is a good choice, as well as oatmeal or whole grains, and of course toast.

The dairy products They are essential and should be taken at least two servings daily. Due to its contribution of micronutrients necessary for growth, it is essential that we include dairy (or other foods rich in calcium and vitamin D) in the child's diet. Milk, cheese and yogurts can be offered both for breakfast, lunch or a snack, accompanied by fruit or nuts to complement the supply of nutrients.

The food and the Dinner They do not have to consist of three dishes, but rather of varied portions of different foods in order to provide the necessary nutritional variety. In addition, foods with high nutrient density should be chosen since at these ages children still eat small amounts, and thus we ensure that the contribution of micronutrients is not compromised. Legumes, nuts, meat and fish or eggs, for example, are foods with a high nutritional density.

To ensure a consumption of fruit acceptable, best served between main meals rather than dessert, and preferably in whole portions rather than squeezed.

And now comes the most difficult. Taking into account everything we have told you, what do I put on the table every day? What do I prepare for the child? Without going into quantities, here we have designed some ideas for 'orientative menus'.

Breakfast

Midmorning

Food

Snack

Dinner

Glass of milk

Bread toast with, tomato or honey butter

Piece of fruit

Stewed lentils with rice

fruit

Homemade unsweetened fruit smoothie

Homemade pumpkin soup

Home-made croquettes

A glass of milk

Glass of milk

Portion of homemade sponge cake

Bread with homemade hummus

Spaghetti with tomato and minced meat

fruit

Fresh seasonal fruit

Green beans with cooked potatoes

Omelette

Glass of milk

A yogurt

with sugar-free cereals

Piece of fruit

Fresh cheese with walnuts

Mashed vegetables

Home made meat balls

fruit

Ham or serrano ham with whole wheat bread

Soup broth

Grilled sole

A glass of milk

You can read more articles similar to Preschool Child Feeding, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.

Video: Webinar - Preschool and Early Child Care Food Allergy Training (November 2020).