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a balanced plate for primary school children

A balanced plate, palate and healthy eating for school children means eating a wide range of foods from all of the food groups as shown in the Eatwell Guide. Children from age 5 until 11, learn about healthy eating at school as well as at home. What and how they eat at school is an important part of their learning. As children grow, their needs for key nutrients change, although calcium and iron continue to be a priority for maintaining growth and development. A healthy weight can be achieved by getting the balance between energy intake from food and spending energy in physical activity. 3 top priorities and 15 top tips for a balanced plate for primary school children:

Don’t skip breakfast

  • Eating breakfast improves concentration and behaviour during the school day
  • Start the day with a wholegrain breakfast cereal or toast with milk or natural yoghurt plus fruits or a small glass of fruit juice. A boiled or poached egg with toast is a good alternative
  • Breakfast in associated with maintaining a healthy weight and not with weight loss and helps to avoiding snacking on high sugar and fat snacks like crisps, biscuits and confectionery
  • Breakfast clubs at school can provide a healthy breakfast

Eat three meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • A routine of three meals per day help provide the energy and nutrient needed
  • Make sure each meal includes at least one portion of fruit, vegetables or salad
  • Include starchy foods such as pasta, rice, wholegrain bread or potatoes with their skins
  • Choose a protein foods rich in the minerals iron and zinc eg. meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts
  • Include at least 3 portions of dairy foods or alternatives as a source calcium
  • Snack sensibly and limit sugars
  • Sugar contains “empty” calories and causes dental decay. Added sugar is found in many foods like soft drinks, breakfast cereals and snacks but also occur naturally in fruit juice, smoothies and honey.

Avoid sweets and sweetened fizzy drinks

  • Swap any soft drinks for water
  • Choose lower sugar varieties of milk drinks and smoothies
  • Change to no added sugar cereals containing more whole-grains
  • Offer fruit as a snack after school when kids are hungry or a more substantial snack if doing extra sports or the evening meal is a long way off

Need further advice?  Contact Carine to make an appointment.

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