A Balanced Diet Ensures We Get All The Nutrients Our Body Needs To Function. These Nutrients Should Derive From The Below:
- Fruit & vegetables. Variation is key. Ensure for children that you include bitter & savoury flavours, as well as sweet flavours.
- Carbohydrates including starches & fibre; potato, rice, buckwheat & pasta
- Protein including chicken, beef, fish, pulses & eggs
- Pasteurised dairy products including milk, yoghurt & cheese
- Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado & nuts (nuts from 6 months old as long as they are crushed, ground or a smooth butter)
Zoe’s Tips To Ensure A Greater Balance When Cooking From Home:
- Switch up the types of food you use, for example try different varieties of rice or potato
- Mix & match your protein source - switch between chicken, beef, pulses, eggs & fish
- Choose a rainbow of colours in each meal. If you are cooking two vegetables ensure they are a different colour eg red & green, purple & yellow
- Experiment with a new food each week
By eating a variety of different foods we will already be guaranteeing we get a varied array of nutrients. Experiment with different flavours & textures, & be patient. It can take up to 10 times for your child to start liking something. Gradually increase the amount and variety of food offered. If you are struggling to introduce different flavours, try hiding new foods into the food that you know they like. For example, blitz some spinach with their milk, or mix some avocado with their mashed banana.
The Importance Of Iron
Iron stores are built up in your child through pregnancy and they start to deplete at the age of 6 months so it’s important to start feeding your baby sources of iron (red meat, dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, beans and lentils).
Do not add salt or sugar to your babies' diet, this includes in cooking water. Too much salt early on can be damaging to your baby's kidneys & too much sugar can cause tooth decay & cause metabolic issues later down the line. Be aware of processed foods that can contain hidden quantities of salt & sugar.