Nutrition for young children explained
Overall, a well-balanced diet is vitally important for helping kids grow and develop at the right rate through each life stage. Kids need a positive energy balance and the right range of different nutrients to support their immune system and promote overall wellbeing. Creating healthy eating habits early will help your kids eat well and reduce their risk of chronic disease when they become adults1.
However, it’s all very well being told that balanced nutrition is vital for kids’ health. But when we’re trying to create good eating habits with fussy eaters, it’s just as important to understand why different kinds of nutrition are important. Then we can think about what our kids are and aren’t eating and understand if there are any gaps, or anything missing in that balance. Read more about what each different type of nutrient does below.
If you’re managing a fussy eater and have concerns about gaps in their diet, PediaSure provides a simple way to help fill those gaps with a quick-to-make health shake. Find out more about the Triple Sure System in PediaSure, which supports growth2-4, promotes immunity5 and helps build a healthy appetite4.
Protein is an essential building block in all living cells. It supports growth and repair and fuels the continuous process of protein turnover that happens in our bodies. Proteins can also act as a source of energy, but unlike carbohydrates and fats, our bodies don’t use protein to store energy. A low protein intake has been linked to impaired immune function and growth1.
The main sources of protein in an Australian diet are meat, poultry and fish (about 33%), cereals and cereal-based foods (about 25%) and dairy foods (about 16%). Vegetables also provide about 8%1.
PediaSure contains a unique triple protein complex that helps provide energy throughout the day7. Find out how the triple protein complex fits into our Triple Sure System.
Fats are also important for providing us with energy and play a key role in maintaining our body weight. About 25%-35% of our daily energy intake should come from fats1.
Fats also have other important roles to play in the body. Many essential micronutrients, such as vitamins A, D and E are fat soluble, and people whose diet is too low in fats may not absorb enough of them1.
Certain special types of fats, known as fatty acids, are essential in the diet. These include some of the polyunsaturated n-6 and n-3 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (LA), α-linolenic acid (ALA) and the long chain omega-3s (DHA, EPA and DPA). DHA, for example, is known to support brain and central nervous system health1-7. To get enough of these types of fats it is recommended that we eat two fish meals a week.
PediaSure contains a healthy fat blend that includes linoleic acid, α-linolenic acid, DHA and readily absorbable medium-chain triglycerides. Learn more about PediaSure here.
Carbohydrates come in the form of starches or sugars, and their main role is to provide us with energy that lasts throughout the day1.
Keeping the amount of carbohydrates we eat in balance with the other macronutrients that provide energy (proteins and fats) is important for maintaining a healthy weight1.
Eating too many carbohydrates is associated with developing type II diabetes and, and as we get older it may also be associated with heart disease1.
PediaSure contains an advanced carbohydrate blend that is designed to help provide energy throughout the day7. Read about how this helps PediaSure support growth and development here.
Vitamins and minerals carry out many essential functions in the body. They help us make and heal bones, heal wounds and bolster the immune system. And some are needed to help convert food into energy and repair cellular damage.8
1. Calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, and phosphorus are needed for strong bones and protecting against fractures.
2. Fluoride is needed for healthy teeth.
3. Vitamin C protects us against scurvy and helps us absorb iron, and Vitamin D helps us use the calcium in our diet so we don’t get rickets.
4. Iron and zinc help to promote a healthy appetite.9,10
PediaSure contains 27 essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and build a healthy appetite.7 Read more about the Triple Sure System in PediaSure here.
Our digestive system is inhabited by many different kinds of bacteria that help us digest our food and keep us healthy. Probiotics are bacteria like Lactobacillus, which we can take in with our diet to help keep the population of bacteria in our digestive system in balance. Probiotics can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, help improve our digestion and even help us maintain a healthy immune system11.
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that probiotic bacteria use as food. Eating prebiotics such as fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) helps encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in our digestive systems.
When you combine a probiotic bacteria and their prebiotic food source together you get a synbiotic. When used in food supplements, synbiotics are very good at promoting the growth of healthy bacteria and suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria in our digestive system.
PediaSure contains a synbiotic made up of a prebiotic bacteria called Lactobacillus acidophilus and probiotic FOS, which is part of our Triple Sure System. Read more about the Triple Sure System here.
1. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Available at https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n55 accessed May 2018.
2. PediaSure® Triple Sure Product Label (Vanilla).
3. Huynh DTT et al. J Hum Nutr Diet 2015;28:623–35.
4. Huynh DTT et al. J Nutr Sci 2016; 5:e20.
5. Fisberg M et al. lnt Pediatr 2002; 17(4):216–22.
6. Australian Government Department of Health and Aging. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand
Including Recommended Dietary Intakes. Available at https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n35-n36-n37 accessed May 2018.
7. Abbott Nutrition Data on File (CCD).
8. Harvard Medical School helpguide.org. Vitamins & Minerals/ Are You Getting What You Need? Available at https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/vitamins-and-minerals.htm accessed May 2018
9. Stoltzfus RJ et al. J Nutr 2004; 134:348–56.
10. Krebs NF et al. Am J Dis Child 1984; 138:270–73.
11. Schrezenmeier J et al. Clin Pediatr 2004; 43:239.