The beginning of school is a time of intense activity for children who often have also sports and other extracurricular commitments and therefore a healthy and balanced diet is very important for their physical and mental development and to maintain all the energy needed.
To give children a varied and balanced diet is very useful to plan a weekly menu to harmonize the various meals and to avoid absences or repetitions of basic nutrients.
Nutritionists recommend always start the day with breakfast, the first meal of the day providing the energy needed to deal efficiently with the commitment of the school in the morning.
A good breakfast should contain at least three food groups:
- Bread, toast, cereal
- Milk, yogurt or cheese
- Fresh fruit or squeezed fruit.
Breakfast is sometimes done in a hurry or worse jumped, so it is necessary to develop little strategies that allow children to eat in the morning:
- Set the table the night before: prepare cups, cutlery and plates
- Wake up early and go to bed a little earlier to have time to eat breakfast
- Eat with the children in the morning
- Offer children a variety of foods and ask what they would like to eat
The recreations between lessons are an opportunity to integrate a little more caloric foods as;
- Fresh fruits (bananas, tangerines and apricots, cherries or strawberries) or sliced stored in a container (orange slices, chunks of pear, apples) .
- Roasted Nuts (walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts).
- Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, prunes, plums).
- Bread sticks, toasts.
- Small sandwiches of cheese, ham, or other ingredients and vegetables
- Occasionally some chocolate or a snack.
Many children have lunch at school. School canteens usually have high quality standards with great attention to the needs of nutrients and calories for children. The task of parents is to ensure the quality of raw ingredients used and whether they have an adequate preparation.
In the case that your child brings food from home is important to consider the nutritional balance.
Nutritionists suggest to give children these food at lunch or dinner:
- Fish: 3-4 times a week
- Meats: 3-4 times a week
- Eggs: 3-4 servings per week
- Vegetables: 2-4 servings per week
- Dryed fruit and nuts: 3-7 servings per week
- Milk, dairy: 2-4 servings a day
- Olive oil 3-6 servings daily
- Vegetables: 2 servings daily
- Fruits: 3 servings daily
- Bread and cereals, pastas, potatoes: 4-6 servings
- Water: 4-8 glasses
- Other fats: occasional use
- Sweets, pastries, candies: occasional use
- Soft drinks, ice cream: occasional use
- Cold cuts, salami, sausages: occasional use.