Balanced Nutrition and Five Food Groups for Kids
Providing balanced nutrition for your busy child can be a challenge. These quick facts can help you plan meals around the five food groups and create a balanced diet for your child.
Nutrients are the essential building blocks that our bodies need to grow, develop and provide energy. There are three kinds of nutrients that you will often hear talked about - macronutrients, micronutrients and dietary fibre.
Macronutrients include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. They all contribute to energy intake, helping us and our kids stay active every day.
Micronutrients include a range of essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, vitamin C, D and the B vitamins. Although we need these nutrients in much smaller amounts, they are very important for our long-term general health and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Dietary fibre can be soluble or insoluble, and is important for digestive health.
Balanced nutrition or ‘a balanced diet’ are terms used to describe a diet that contains enough macronutrients, micronutrients and dietary fibre to help us and our kids stay fit and well. Compared to their body weight, kids need higher levels of nutrients and energy than an adult, to help them grow and develop at the proper rate.
Ensuring your kids have the right nutrients is something we are passionate about. We know that picky eaters have a higher risk of infection and lower immunity.4
PediaSure provides complete, balanced nutrition for your little one.5 The added prebiotic fibre and probiotic helps support a healthy gut and immune system.6 Vitamins A, D and C, and zinc have been proven to support immunity, and are part of the 28 essential vitamins and minerals included in PediaSure.7-9 We want your child living their life to the fullest.
PediaSure ensures your little one has the nutrients they need to be fighting fit all year round.
Other ways you can support your child’s immunity, include:
Feeding them a healthy diet10
Focus on feeding your child fresh, real foods from each of the five food groups and make these foods as accessible and appealing as possible. Opt for water instead of fruit juices and cordials.
Allowing them to relax10
Children need time to rest so their immune systems can thrive. Allow them to have down time as well as time for creative play.
Sleep is essential for building a strong immune system. To help improve your child’s sleep quality, ensure they sleep in a dark room to support the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Also turn off all electronic devices before bed and keep them out of the bedroom, if possible.
To get all the macro- and micronutrients and dietary fibre we need and maintain balanced nutrition, we all need to eat a variety of food from each of the five food groups1.
- Vegetables and legumes/beans
- Grain (cereal) foods mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and/or legumes/beans
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives (mostly reduced fat milk, yoghurt and cheese)
Because kids naturally grow at different rates, the amount of servings of each of the five food groups they need changes according to their age, gender, height, weight and physical activity levels.3 But, don’t worry, we’ve got some pretty simple advice you can follow.
Holidays and nutrition don’t always go hand in hand (a simple salad is no match for ice cream, after all). Here are some super handy parenting tricks to help kids get the nutrition they need - without missing out on the summer fun!
- Set a routine – When the summer break starts, try sticking to a regular mealtime routine to keep their appetites in check.
- Pick a picnic – You know what they say: food tastes better outdoors! Not only can a visit to the local park or beach help little ones work up an appetite, but a change in scenery can spark an interest in new foods, too.
- Break the rules! - With the holiday season comes ample opportunities to get creative and play - and that includes with our food! Turn those red tomatoes and fresh summer greens into edible Christmas trees - so fun and tasty, they’ll think Santa’s visited twice!
- Don’t sweat it – Every parent wants their kids to be healthy. While we know it can be stressful when your kids refuse food, it’s important you enjoy your summer break too - and trust that your kid will seek the nutrition they need, when they need it.
- Add in a supplement - If you’re worried your kids aren’t getting the nutrition, they need from meals alone, try adding a scoop of PediaSure to their favourite summertime snack recipes. With three delicious flavours to choose from, you know they’ll love the taste!
1. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Available at https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n55
2. Micronutrients have a major impact on health. Harvard Health Publishing, September 206. Available at https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/micronutrients-have-major-impact-on-health
3. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Healthy eating for children. Teach your child healthy habits for a healthy life. Available at https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/content/The%20Guidelines/n55f_children_brochure.pdf
4. Scrimshaw NS. J Nutr 2003;133(1):316S–21S.
5. PediaSure® Product Label.
6. Schrezenmeir J et al. Clin Pediatr 2004;43(3):239–49.
7. Ross AC Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96(suppl):1166S–72S.
8. Peelen E et al. Autoimmun Rev 2011;10(12):733–43.
9. Maggini S et al. J Int Med Res 2010;38(2):386–414.
10. Kidspot. How to boost your child's immune system through food. Available at: https://www.kidspot.com.au/lifestyle/family-health/how-to-boost-your-childs-immune-system-through-food/news-story/9d982ef8a6ba0ed7754288c0bea70610