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To help prevent children from becoming overweight, you need to give them a healthy balanced diet, based on a little bit of everything, and everything in moderation.
Applied to child nutrition, this translates as:
> Three meals a day and an afternoon snack, eaten quietly at the table, with the rest of the family (as far as possible).
> Five portions of fruit and veg a day.
> A small portion of carbs at each meal.
> Meat or fish once a day (no more).
> Milk or dairy produce three times a day.
> A good breakfast consisting of bread or cereal, dairy produce and a piece of fresh fruit.
> One snack a day, in the afternoon (keep an eye on portion size and time spent snacking).
> No other snacks in between meals.
It's really important to teach children to listen to their bodies and eat according to when their bodies tell them they're hungry. Centre discussion about food around eating for wellbeing and eating to feel good, rather than eating to achieve the right weight, which can be a vague concept for children and create feelings of guilt.
The food habits and eating patterns you give your children will affect the way they eat for the rest of their lives. It's worth paying close attention to their nutrition in the early years.
For more on child nutrition, see our article:
How to give your kids a balanced diet