The new school year is just around the corner and some families are starting to worry about breakfasts and snacks. What should children be eating at break times: sweet or savoury? Carbohydrates or proteins? Biscuits, sandwiches or fruit?
The answer is obvious if we look at the nutritional needs of children.
Young children are going through a period of growth and need a large nutritional component in their daily diets. School and extracurricular activities mean that they need to make an extra intellectual, physical and emotional effort, and food is their primary source of energy and health. It is crucial: food gives them the essential nutrients to grow and face the day.
So what nutrients do children need to sustain them in their daily activities?
Proteins, like pork: develop body tissues: muscles, tendons, cartilage, etc. They strengthen the immune system and are a great source of energy. They should make up around 12% of the diet.
Complex carbohydrates, such as bread: are the body’s main source of energy. They should make up 60% of the diet.
Fats found in milk, cold meats and olive oil: provide energy, allow the absorption of certain vitamins and help to protect and insulate the body. They make up 25% of the diet.
Vitamins and minerals, found in almost all foods: they serve for most of the body’s functions: growth, brain activity, vision, circulation or defences. They keep the bones, teeth, heart, nervous system, immune system, etc. in good health.
The most common breakfasts and snacks for children are generally cold meat sandwiches accompanied by vegetables or fruits. They are one of the most complete options given their nutritional needs.
Lean meat like pork is a source of protein, minerals (phosphorus, iron, potassium and zinc), vitamins (B1, B3, B6 and B12), and the right amount of fatty acids.
Accompanied by complex carbohydrates (bread) and plants (fruits and vegetables), they make an ideal snack for children.
The routines and habits that we implement in our daily lives are an opportunity to instil values to children.
In particular, it is important for children to learn the value of taking care of their health and well-being. What better than theMediterranean diet to promote these values and a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
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