Children aged two to five may be small, but they’re growing and that means they need more calories (energy) for their size. If your child is underweight, it’s crucial they get their energy from a healthy and balanced diet.
All children need the calories and nutrients that come from a balanced diet. Children have smaller stomachs; they may not get all the energy they need from three meals a day, and may need to eat some small snacks in between to boost their energy intake. Three meals a day with three smaller snacks at regular intervals is ideal.
A balanced diet for a young child means having a variety of foods. From the age of two, give your child:
- At least three portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates. Choose wholegrain where possible.
- Some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks and yoghurts). Choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options.
- Some beans, fish, eggs, meat and other protein. Aim for two portions of fish every week.
- Plenty of fluids.
Don’t let your child sip sugary drinks and eat sugary foods too often. The longer and more often sugar touches your child’s teeth, the more damage it causes. If your child does have sugary foods or drinks, it’s best to give them at mealtimes to minimise damage to their teeth.
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