This article is basically meant to give information about the dietary needs of preschool nutrition for kids who are aged between 3-5 years. This is a delicate age in which the child is still developing their eating habits and is eager to learn. Therefore, it’s imperative to impart the best eating habits and nutritional rich diet to the children at this age.

Parents must set the example for their kids

Preschool Nutrition

Also, this is the age when they actually imitate their elders. What they eat and how and how much is carefully observed by those small beady eyes.So, they need to be supervised and guided as well. Meal time should be the time when they are taught what to eat, how much and how to eat properly, which includes proper mastication and swallowing techniques as well. Here are some helpful points which would help the parents how to go about this important responsibility of preschool nutrition exercise.

There should be a fixed meal time everyday

Preschool Nutrition

Always make a fixed meal time in preschool nutrition even for snacks. Unplanned eating is bad for health and creates a lot ofcomplications later on. If a child from the beginning has regimented eating habits their metabolism and digestion would be well regulated too. Child must be encouraged to take his/her meal seriously and not be allowed to talk too much or play with toys or watch TV or computer/ phone screens while eating.

Also, the child should be sitting at proper place and eat the entire meal without running away or playing in between as it can cause choking. Keep introducing different sort of food everyday which would diversify their eating habits. Make meal time pleasant and do not force them to polish off their plates as this might lead to over eating and weight gain later.

Healthy food choices

Preschool Nutrition

The myplate icon developed by USDA and U.S Department of heath and human development is the perfect way to guide the child to eat a proper combination of diet with the right amount of nutrition, calories and fat whichis according to their ages. The balanced preschool nutrition myplate is divided in 5 food groups. First comes the Grains or food made from rice, wheat, barley or oats etc like oat meal, brown rice or wheat grain. Second comes, vegetables which must be the combination or variation of dark green, leafy type, red or orange vegetables along with legumes such as peas and beans.

Fruits are important

Preschool Nutrition

Third come the Fruits or 100% juices of any fruit which must be mandatory part of the preschool nutrition. The fruits can be fresh or canned or even frozen. It can be served cut up in slices and cubes or whole. According to American Academy of Paediatrics, any child between the ages of 1-3 must not be served more than 4 ounces of juice and for children aged 4-6 years, amount should not exceed 4-6 ounces. Then comes the turn of Dairy items which should be low in fat and high in calcium contents.

Finally in preschool nutrition come the proteins in the diet, always go for low fat or lean meat and poultry. Be more diverse by introducing the child to fish, nuts and beans. Although oil is NOT a part of the myplate icon but some essential oil must be a part of the diet like nut oils. Animal fats should be avoided.Also; along with healthy balanced meal exercising a routine physical activity should be encouraged to make the kids active.

Nutrition and Activity Tips

Preschool Nutrition

Preschool nutrition does not only mean well balanced diet but also how its regulated and meal time must be an opportunity of social interaction and individual growth for the kids too. Allow children to choose their food for the day and help them to prepare basic meal like salad and involve them in the kitchen while their food is being prepared for them.Try to feed them food which is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and fibre.

No overeating in Preschool nutrition

Preschool Nutrition

Parents must strictly control the portion sizes to avoid over eating and encourage non processed food items such as fruits and berries more. Parents should be well aware of the recommended portion sizes of their child according to their age and they must stick to it.

More games in the park not on phone

Preschool Nutrition

Limit their screen time which could be either T.V or computer and phone to just 2 hrs a day. Instead more time should be invested in outdoor games and a run through the park or havea go at the swings and merry go round etc. Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of rigorous physical activities and therefore parents must make sure to carry a water bottle always when the kids are running around so that they are never dehydrated and are always sipping water or fruit juice whenever they are resting after a run or after every meal, this is pre requisite for any preschool nutrition plan.