What should I eat each day?
Individual children vary a lot in the amount they want and need to eat. And anyone’s appetite can be affected temporarily - especially by illness or “nerves” related to an upcoming event like a big test or a grand final. But to ensure your body is absorbing the essential nutrients it requires each day - including iron, calcium and vitamins, all of which your body needs to work properly - try
and include the following foods in your diet each day:
- 2 to 3 serves of dairy – milk, yoghurt and cheese
- 2 to 3 serves of protein – meat, chicken and other poultry, fish,dried beans, eggs and nuts
- 2 to 4 serves of vegetables
- 2 to 4 serves of fruit – not sweetened canned fruit
- 6 serves of cereals – wholegrain bread, breakfast cereals (preferably unsweetened), rice and pasta
Remember your body is a machine that needs specific “fuels” to work at its best. And if your friends don’t seem to care about the fuel they put in their “machines”, just imagine how much better your brain is working, how much longer your legs will carry you, and what you may look like compared to them in 20 years or so.
Some children are members of families that don’t practise good eating habits. If your family doesn’t place a priority on healthy eating, ask if you can help prepare the meals. Breakfast and lunch are probably the easiest meals in which you can choose your own ingredients – ask for Weetbix or wholegrain toast, and place the items you require – fruit, vegetables, sandwich fillings – on the shopping list. Point out that it’s cheaper to make your own lunch than buy it!