How much do our children need to eat to be healthy?
Did you know that parental appetite impacts on how much food they serve to their children?
In a US study, researchers found that mothers who identified they felt hungry when they were serving their children’s meal tended to serve their children more food.
Researchers also found mothers who were overweight served larger meals. All mothers served their children more food than the US dietary guidelines suggest was necessary.
We know that children have to learn to identify the signals that tell them they have eaten enough food. We also know that the serving size they are used to becomes the standard against which they judge whether or not they have eaten enough food.
Children regularly served large meals will feel they need this amount of food to stop feelings of hunger. This, of course, increases the risk for childhood obesity.
The most recent survey of Australian diets suggests that we all need to eat more vegetables, legumes/beans, fruits, wholegrain cereals, reduced fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds. We also need to eat less starchy vegetables, refined cereals, high and medium-fat dairy foods, food and drinks high in saturated fat, added sugar, added salt, or alcohol.
There is more and more evidence now demonstrating the link between drinking sugary drinks and excessive weight gain in children and adults.
We know about the benefits of breastfeeding. Drinking milk is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and some cancers, eating fruit linked to decreased risk of heart disease, eating non-starchy vegetables linked to decreased risk of some cancers and eating wholegrain cereals is linked to decreased risk of heart disease and less risk of excessive weight gain.
In Armidale, we have good access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Let’s make sure our children grow up healthy.
You can read more about Australian dietary guidelines at https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/about-australian-dietary-guidelines
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