Fundamental dietary requirements of our children.
The basic dietary requirements for good health in children are a diet consisting of a balance of foods from the five main groups in the proportions required for each aspect and stage of development;
- Vitamins and minerals
A balanced diet is important because each food group meets different physical needs that children have. The nutritional value of food in relation to the size of the portions comes down to providing a balance of each food group within a menu in proportion to the amount of each of the food groups they require; e.g. not having too much carbohydrate in a meal to the extent that they do not want to eat their protein portion. All children require all the nutritional benefits provided by all the food groups. It is also important to remember that children can and have a tendency to overeat therefore it is essential to provide a balanced menu with the correct size of portions allowing them to feel satisfied and providing their nutritional needs.
The effect sugar intake has on children's behaviour is a hotly debated topic in paediatrics. Parents and educators often contend that sugar and other carbohydrate ingestion can dramatically impact children's behaviour, particularly their activity levels. Physicians on the other hand, have looked at controlled studies of sugar intake and have not found blood sugar abnormalities in the children who are consuming large amounts of sugar.
It is commonly acknowledged that as blood glucose levels fall, there is a compensatory release of adrenaline. When the blood glucose level falls below normal, the resulting situation is called hypoglycaemia. Signs and symptoms that accompany this include shakiness, sweating, and altered thinking and behaviour.
A research doctor and his colleagues demonstrated that this adrenaline release occurs at higher glucose levels in children than it does in adults. It children it occurs at a blood sugar level that would not be considered hypoglycaemic. The peak of this adrenaline surge comes about 4 hours after eating. The doctors reason that the problem is not sugar per se, but highly refined sugars and carbohydrates, which enter the bloodstream quickly and produce more rapid fluctuations in blood glucose levels.
So what we're getting round to say is;
Giving your children a breakfast which contains fibre (oatmeal, shredded wheat, bananas, whole grain bread etc.) should keep adrenaline levels more constant and reduce behavioural fluctuations.
Therefore the bread that we buy in is wholemeal and we make our own wheaten, banana, marmalade and yoghurt bread ensuring a high fibre and low refined sugar intake for our children.
In the morning for breakfast at 9.30 we alternate between wholemeal toast and high fibre cereals with whole milk.
It's important to realise that in early years and childhood rapid growth occurs and this must be met by large supplies of proteins, and certain vitamins and minerals namely calcium and iron.
Table showing how certain cooking techniques that can affect the nutritional content of foods
At Sandcastles we are committed to selecting, cooking, and serving only Food for Life.