Recommended Intake And Portion Sizes For Children

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Warwickshire Dietetic ServiceRecommendedIntake and PortionSizes for ChildrenThis leaflet is intended for parents or carers of children andcontains information on healthy eating and appropriateportion sizes for children and young people. It is a first-lineadvice sheet which may be issued by doctors, nurses, andother professionals.

Recommended Intake and Portion Sizes for ChildrenIntroductionChildren require a varied and balanced diet to provide energy and nutrients for growth,development and activity.The Eatwell Guide below represents a balanced diet and it is applicable to children over 5years, adolescents and adults. It does not apply to children under 2 as they have differentnutritional needs. From the age of 2 children should gradually move to the same foods asthe rest of the family and so by the age of 5 they are eating foods in proportions as in theEatwell guide.This leaflet provides information on portion sizes for ages 1-14 to ensure a balanced diet.A routine is very important. A child should be offered regular meals and snacks, rather thangiving food whenever they ask.NOTE: the Eatwell Guide above shows adult energy requirements in the margins, children’svalues differ.Page 2

Recommended Intake and Portion Sizes for ChildrenGetting the Balance RightFood GroupFoods includedMain nutrientssuppliedRecommendedfrequencyPotatoes, bread, rice,pasta and other starchycarbohydrates.Bread, chapatti, breakfastcereals, rice, couscous,pasta, millet, potatoes,yam and foods made withflour such as pizza bases,buns, pancakes.CarbohydrateB vitaminsFibreSome iron, zinc andcalciumServe at each meal andsnack if requiredFresh, frozen, tinned anddried fruits andvegetables, unsweetenedfruit juiceVitamin CPhytochemicalsFibreCarotenesOffer a variety at eachmealAim for 5 servings per dayFruit and vegetablesNote: If excessiveweight gain is a concernthen snacks may needto be limitedNote: Fruit juice can becounted as a portiononce per day. For under5’s this should bediluted 1 part juice to 10parts waterDairy and alternativesBreast milk, formula milk,cow’s milk, yoghurts,cheese, calcium enrichedsoya, oat, nut and ricemilks, tofuCalciumProteinIodineRiboflavin3 servings per day.ProteinIronZincMagnesiumB vitaminsVitamin AOmega 3 long chain fattyacids: EPA and DHA fromoily fish2-3 servings per dayFish should ideally beoffered twice per week (atleast one serving shouldbe oily fish)Vitamin D & E, omega 3fatty acidsUse these sparingly.Note: Rice milk is notsuitable for childrenunder 5 yearsBeans, pulses, fish, egg, Pulses, dhal, nuts, seeds,meat and other proteins meat, fish, eggs, QuornOils and SpreadsButter, margarines,cooking oilsNote: Semi-skimmedmilk can be used after 2years and skimmed milkcan be used after 5years if growth is good.Note: Vitamin C helpsthe body absorb ironfrom foods, so ensurethat some fruit orvegetables are includedwith these foodsNote: Unsaturated fatsare healthier fats andinclude vegetable,rapeseed, olive andsunflower oils.Page 3

Recommended Intake and Portion Sizes for ChildrenFood GroupFoods includedMain nutrientssuppliedRecommendedfrequencyFluidAll drinks including water,milk and milk substitutes,squashes, juices and hotdrinksWaterFluoride in areas withfluoridated tap water6-8 drinks per day andmore in hot weather orafter extra physical activityNote: Sugary drinksshould be discouragedfrom both a healthyeating and dental healthaspect. Soft drinkscontaining artificialsweeteners should belimited to meal times asthe acid in them cancause dental erosion.All squash and juiceshould be well-dilutedfor under 5’s e.g. 1 partsquash to 10 parts waterVitamin and mineralsupplementsNutritional content depends on product.A vitamin A, C & D supplement is recommended routinely up to 5 years of age –from 6months of age in breastfed children or when the child is having less than500ml formula milk per day.Children who have a limited diet may benefit from an age-appropriate over-thecounter multivitamin and mineral supplement to ensure that they meet theirmicronutrient requirements.Folic acid is recommended for adolescent girls who could become pregnant.Vitamin D is recommended for pregnant teenagers.Foods high in fat, salt and sugar such as cream, salad oils, mayonnaise, chocolate, confectionary, cakes,biscuits, jam, sugar, syrup, ice-cream, crisps and other high fat savoury snacks are not essential and so shouldbe eaten less often and in small amounts.Page 4

Recommended Intake and Portion Sizes for ChildrenFood Groups and Number of Portions per Day– see individual age reference sheets for pictures / information re: portion sizesFood GroupAge 1-3 yearsAge 4-6 years6667Fruit andVegetables5555Milk andalternatives333322333333Bread, rice,potatoes, pastaand otherstarchy foodsBeans, Pulses,Meat, Fish,Eggs and othersources ofproteinOils andspreadsAge 7-10yearsAge 11-14yearsPage 5

Recommended Intake and Portion Sizes for ChildrenPortionsAlthough the principles of healthy eating are similar for adults and children, children do notrequire the same size portions as adults. They have smaller bodies and stomachs and theirportions should reflect this. At different ages, children will require different amounts of food tomeet changing energy and nutrient requirements. They may eat varying amounts from day-to-day, particularly younger children, but this is normal behavior. As long as they are having avaried diet and growing well, it is likely that they will be meeting requirements.Tips for controlling portions Be careful of pre-packaged portions. Most processed foods are sold as adult portionsso a child will not need the full portion. Try using a smaller plate or bowl for your child. This will make it easier to offer “childsize” portions. Try to have regular meal and snack times. If a child says they are hungry in betweenthese e.g. whilst you are cooking a meal, try giving them a glass of water rather than anextra snack to keep them going until the mealtime. This will help to fill them up for ashort time. It will also stop them overeating and prevent them ruining their appetite forthe meal. Give your child less rather than more to start with – they can always ask for secondhelpings. This way you’ll have less waste and they won’t eat too much. As it takes approximately 20 minutes for the brain to send signals that you are full, it isa good idea to encourage your children to eat slowly as this will allow them to recognisewhen they are full. Try to have mealtimes without distractions such as television, computer, electronicgames and smart phones. These can distract them and they may not notice the signalstelling them they are full. Never force your child to clear their plate. If they say they’re full, they probably are full!Recommended portionsThe appendices linked with this resource are a rough guide for portion sizes at differentages. They are based on average requirements for a specific age range. If your child is at theyounger end of the range you may need to offer slightly smaller portions and similarly if theyare at the higher end of the age range, you may need to offer slightly larger portions. Also ifyour child is underweight or overweight, the portion sizes may need to be increased orreduced accordingly.Page 6

Equality StatementAt South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust we are fully committed to equality and diversity,both as an employer and as a service provider. We have a policy statement in our EqualityStrategy that clearly outlines our commitment to equality for service users, patients and staff:You and your family have the right to be treated fairly and be routinely involved in decisionsabout your treatment and care. You can expect to be treated with dignity and respect. You willnot be discriminated against on any grounds including age, disability, gender reassignment,marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexualorientation.You have a responsibility to treat other service users, patients and our staff with dignity andrespect.Our information for patients can also be made available in other languages, Braille, audio tape,disc or in large print.PALSWe offer a Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS). This is a confidential service for families tohelp with any questions or concerns about local health services.You can contact the service by the direct telephone line on 01926 600 054 by or by calling in person to the PALS Office which is located in the Lakin RoadEntrance to the hospital.Contact details:Dietetic DepartmentGeorge Eliot HospitalNuneatonTel 024 76865098Dietetic DepartmentWarwick HospitalWarwickTel: 01926 626535AuthorRegistered DietitianDepartmentDieteticsContact no02476 865098/01926 495321 x4258PublishedAugust 2016ReviewAugust 2019Version No.2SWH No.00934

Children require a varied and balanced diet to provide energy and nutrients for growth, development and activity. The Eatwell Guide below represents a balanced diet and it is applicable to children over 5 years, adolescents and adults. It does not apply to children under 2 as they have different nutritional needs. From the age of 2 children should gradually move to the same foods as the rest .

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