Develop health from childhood
It is in the first years of life that the foundations for a healthy lifestyle are laid, on which the child can build in adulthood.
Between 10 and 12 months, the child gradually begins to eat the same food as the other members of his family. The recommendations in the choice of food are then similar to those formulated for adults and aim for a balanced and varied diet. For optimal growth and development, children need a variety of nutrients, which also help them stay healthy.
The Swiss Food Disc summarizes the most important messages about healthy eating and physical activity for children aged four to twelve. It provides practical recommendations for ensuring children a balanced and tasty diet, while emphasizing the importance of physical activity. The six main messages of the food disc are:
- Water: Water is the ideal drink. It is recommended to drink 4 to 5 glasses per day.
- Vegetables & Fruits: Eat vegetables and fruits of various colors, as each of them provides a specific range of valuable substances.
- Regular meals: Meals distributed regularly throughout the day promote performance and concentration.
- Eat a Variety: Varying foods and preparation methods contributes to a good supply of nutrients.
- Savor with all of your senses: Taking the time to savor and eat together as often as possible makes meals even better.
- Move regularly: Physical activity is important for physical development and has an influence on mental and social well-being. Children need enough time and space for this in their daily life and in their leisure time.
- A small portion of treats is of course allowed. No food is inherently "healthy" or "unhealthy," it's all about quantity and frequency.
Lead by example
It is important that parents and other caregivers lead by example. In order for children to see what is expected of them, it is not just a matter of paying attention to what you eat, but also how to eat. A relaxed atmosphere at the table promotes well-being and enjoyment of food. Serenity, humor and patience are the keys to a good atmosphere at the table, while criticism and pressure put an end to the appetite.
Invite children to taste and be culinary daring, this will open the doors to a multitude of taste experiences and encourage them to choose a variety of foods. As for the quantities, we can rely on the feelings of hunger and satiety of the little ones. Portion sizes may vary from day to day. For ten o'clock and four o'clock, a healthy snack will prevent cravings and allow you to refuel, especially in case of intense physical activity.
It is recommended to consume three servings of milk / dairy products per day. One serving corresponds to:
Children 1 to 6 years old
1/2 cup of milk or yogurt / quark / cottage cheese / other dairy product or 1/8 cup of semi-hard / hard cheese or 1/4 cup of soft cheese.
Children 7 to 12 years old
1 cup of milk or 5-7 oz of yogurt / quark / cottage cheese / other dairy product or 1 oz of semi-hard / hard cheese or 2 oz of soft cheese.
An additional serving per day of a high protein food (eg: red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, seitan, cheese , quark) is recommended. You should vary between these protein sources.